That phrase has a lot of meaning to me. It seems to sum up so much of Christianity. It is the foundation of the Christian life, the basis of salvation, the only thing that makes joy and peace and love possible.
I realized recently that all my strivings can be answered by trusting Christ in four areas.
This may have been my first big struggle as a young teenager– the search for identity. Who am I? What defines me? What makes me intrinsically me? What makes me… me?
It’s so easy to place it in all sorts of things. Having long hair. Being a good writer. Being the oldest kid in my family. Being smart. Being funny. Those are a few I’ve tried to make a part of the fabric of my being over the years.
Insecurity happens when one of those is shaken. (Wait, the hairdresser took off more than three inches? Who am I?)
So, the answer to insecurity? To place your identity in something unshakeable.
Or, to trust in Christ.
In Christ I am righteous.
In Christ I am holy and blameless.
In Christ I am loved.
And when I trust Him for my identity, I don’t have to fear that someone will shake my identity by being a better writer or being smarter than me, because I trust Christ for my identity.
You know when you’re eating chocolate chip cookie dough, and with every bite, you just want another one? And with each new bite, you don’t get more satisfied… you actually feel emptier?
That’s a good picture, literally and figuratively, of someone who’s not trusting Christ to satisfy them. They turn to food, or media, or friends, or family, or having fun, or anything else in the world to satisfy them.
And you know what? It doesn’t work.
The only thing that’s capable of satisfying a person is Christ.
This one is so hard for me to understand. How does this big, spiritual reality satisfy my very small, physical needs? How does an invisible, intangible God provide for my visible, material needs?
I love Philippians 4:19, which says “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
He supplies our needs. He cares for us. He is the Provider…
…in Christ Jesus.
I can trust Christ to satisfy me.
This one has always been super hard for me. I would really like to have some righteousness to call my own. I would really live to be a totally perfect, blameless person in my own flesh.
I tend to feel very guilty and full of shame when I have done something wrong. Or something that I perceive to be wrong. (You may have noticed that if you’ve read my blog very long.)
But in the end, I have no claim to any righteousness or potential for righteousness or even desire for true righteousness in my flesh. None.
I find all my righteousness by trusting Christ.
He is my righteousness. He is my claim to God’s favor. He is my ticket to God’s presence. He is the One who destroys my shame, kills my guilt.
It is pride to look for righteousness or goodness or anything but moral filth in my flesh. It’s not there. But what I do have is Christ in me. And I can trust Him for righteousness, because He has given it to me.
This is my current struggle, I would say. Sometimes I fear that maybe God doesn’t have my best interest in mind, maybe He’s not working everything out for my good, maybe He will take away all the things I love just to “teach me a lesson.”
What I forget is that my joy, my happiness, my enjoyment of my life is not founded in some random circumstances aligning in a pleasant ways. It is based in my God.
I can trust God to guard my heart with His peace, even when it defies understanding. I can trust God to make a way for the joy, even when it seems impossible. I can trust God that He really is working all things together for my good, He really does love me with an everlasting love, He really will fulfill His promises to me.
The question is, Do I trust Him?
And if I can answer “yes,” that’s where the joy will come.
I can trust Christ with my joy.
This post reads a bit like a timeline of my Christian walk. As I got older, each new chapter opened– but the old one didn’t close. God continues to show me where I need to trust Him, where I will find the freedom I so desire.
And more often than not, that freedom is found in simply trusting Christ.