This morning, I came across this video of Rich Mullins.
I love it when God sends me messages through multiple sources to drive a point home. Last week, while studying Isaiah 40, I was struck by the notion that God presupposes we will be weak and weary and stumble and fall.
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. – Isaiah 40: 28-31
In the middle of reading those verses, I was struck by the contrast between God and us. He does not grow tired and weary. We do. And then if we hope in Him — if we place our confidence fully in Him, rather than in ourselves — He will renew us.
According to this passage, it’s a given that we’re weak and will stumble and fall. Even the strongest among us will get weak and stumble. But God does not.
God is not surprised when I screw up. He is not shocked when I get weary and want to quit. He expects that. Because I am not Him. And I think it pleases God when I realize that and look to Him to fully strengthen me and renew me and uphold me.
So back to the video I came across this morning, here’s Rich Mullins talking about his humanity —
I love how he put it. “I would rather live on the verge of falling & let my security be in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God than to live in some kind of pietistic illusion of moral excellence.”
How many of us live in a pietistic illusion of our own moral excellence? I know I’ve been guilty of that.
Then he said, “My faith isn’t in the idea that I am more moral than anybody else. My faith is in the idea that God and His love are greater than whatever sins any of us commit.”
Let that sink in. I have been thinking about it all morning.
When I focus on my own behavior, even my own good behavior, then my focus is not on God. We Christians can make an idol out of morally good behavior. We can behave as if our faith is in our own morality.
Whereas, if I live on the verge of falling, then I am constantly aware of my own weakness. I am constantly aware that I am fully reliant on God. I am constantly aware of His love that far surpasses the extent of my sins. And that’s a good place to be.
If I live on the verge of falling, then -to paraphrase one of Rich Mullins’ songs- then if I stand, I stand on the promise that Christ will pull me through, and if I fall, then I fall on the grace that first brought me to Christ. Either way, my focus is on Christ and He gets the glory.