I vividly remember that night at my first summer camp ever. I was handed a small slip of paper.
“Pray. Ask God to show you what area of sin you need to surrender to Him. Then write what He tells you on the slip” the room full of awkward teenagers and almost adults was instructed.
Fear stormed by anxious my heart.
“I don’t know if He’ll speak to me. I don’t want to hear Him wrong. How will I really, really know?”
And at the same moment those fears came crashing in, another word hit my heart and my tongue.
Fears and worries battled in my heart, but that word…I knew it was true. And at the same time I was shocked. Never before had I considered myself a prideful person. The word came from nowhere at yet it so accurately diagnosed the state of my heart that I knew it was from God.
There were no excuses.
There was no where to hide.
And at that time, there was no crushing condemnation or feelings of despair.
Just the simple reality of my sin…a startling revelation and yet a peaceful realization that I knew where my heart was. And as I wrote the word on my slip of paper and threw it into the campfire, there was peace. He could take care of my pride.
As the orange flames turned paper into ash, He could turn my pride into nothing but a memory.
The struggle has intensified since then.
I’ve gone through days of intense condemnation when I failed to see God’s grace as enough. And I’ve gone through arrogant days of thinking my pride was justified by my knowledge.
Those days still come…sometime long and painful, sometimes short and intense. But by His grace I’m learning to walk in the Spirit. I’m learning to see my pride as an ongoing problem to surrender to Him even when I don’t see it manifesting itself. And I’m learning to confess it and walk in the freedom and joy of forgiveness, instead of allowing Satan to turn my guilt into condemnation.
And day by day I’m seeking to live in the perfect balance of grace and works.
The balance of seeking God passionately and letting Him passionately pursue me. The balance of loving Him because He first loved me and stepping out in faith before I see His whole plan. The balance of purposefully obeying Him and of freely living in the freedom of His Grace. The balance of working out my salvation with fear and trembling and living joyfully in the freedom of grace. Because there is BOTH. There is always both.
Most days the wind of my own flesh blows hard and swings my pendulum heart one way or the other…swinging to far one way and demanding works from myself or swinging too far the other way and failing to live out my faith through works.
And the winds of life blow hard and my pendulum swings but I’m praying and seeking to be firmly attached to the Anchor of my soul. Because He alone can keep that perfect balance. So each day I’m seeking and growing and hoping in Him to create that balance in me.
Each day I’m breathing in of Him and praying that what I breathe out is closer to and more in tune with His heart than the last time.