Spiritually Speaking… Show or Substance (and) You are?

Have you ever been too embarrassed to pray? Better yet, have you ever been too ashamed to pray? I mean, if you are a Christian, do you find it difficult to bow down to the Lord after you’ve done exactly what you told Him you’d never do again if only He would rescue you one more time? I know. The worst in all of us rears its ugly head every now and then and praying about it doesn’t guarantee you won’t see that side of you ever again.

Sin comes in all shapes and sizes and colors. Only you and God know how successful the world has been in getting you to do exactly what you know you shouldn’t.

We all know that Satan can tempt you in ways that leave you utterly defeated and laughs when you tell others you didn’t do it, when you, he and God know you did. These are difficult times, especially when God comes calling. After Adam ate the apple, the bible says God went looking for him. You see, Adam knew better and learned very quickly that hiding from God was not an option. And so it is with us. True believers must pray and ask for forgiveness. In doing so, quite a few things become crystal clear, or at least they should. You shouldn’t procrastinate where God is concerned. You can try, but I have firsthand knowledge that it will not work. You can’t hide from the truth and the truth is, you’re a sinner. We all are. And the closer you get to God, the more obvious it becomes to you and Him when you fall down. I’m just acknowledging how hard it is at times to tell the Lord, “I’m sorry.” It seems like a cruel trick to aspire to something you’ll never be able to achieve. None of us will ever be blameless, sinless or without fault. Scripture even tells us that our living without sin is impossible. But as Christians we are obligated to try. Our success lies in our effort and intent. God expects to hear from you and me regarding our shortcomings. As a matter of fact, the closer we get to His light, the more likely we are to see the stain of sin upon our souls. Imperfection pales in the illumination of perfection. That’s just a fact.

What I’m trying to get you to internalize is that it’s okay to look to the Lord even when you believe you have no right to ask for His mercy. Part of the mystery of faith is coming to grips with just how much God loves you and me, in spite of what little we have to offer, He welcomes us as He would His own son. You can always go home. I used to say home is anywhere mom was. Now I know home is anywhere God resides. If that be the case and God is in me, then wherever I am is home. Hopefully that means it should become easier to follow the Word of God, easier to know right from wrong and certainly easier to ask God for mercy when I go wrong instead of right.

One of the keys to pointing yourself in the right direction is knowing God is not impressed with show, only substance. Besides, only a fool would screw things up so badly that he or she is not welcomed into their own home. Ashamed, embarrassed or just plain guilty, it’s better to go home and explain yourself. At least you know the people there do indeed care about you. The alternative keeps the devil in stitches. May God bless and keep you always.

James, jaws@dallasweekly.com