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Life is messy

Life is messy and it's better that we acknowledge it. A lot of us Christians try to pretend that it's not. We want to say that the Bible is a rule book. We say that by following it, our lives should be orderly. But the Bible is as messy as the process of following God is. Yes, the Bibl…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Life is messy and it's better that we acknowledge it. A lot of us Christians try to pretend that it's not. We want to say that the Bible is a rule book. We say that by following it, our lives should be orderly. But the Bible is as messy as the process of following God is.

Yes, the Bible has some rules for us to follow in it, but it is also a history book, a book of poems, the testimony of some guys who walked with Jesus, some letters to churches, and a vision or two. All written in languages we don't speak for people in cultures that don't exist any more.

Your life is full of ambiguity and doubters. You can probably relate to what Paul said, "In my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind."*

You may be coping with pain. Turn up the pain enough in your life and you might say or do things that you didn't want to. Perhaps it's physical pain. Or perhaps the stress in your life keeps you from sleeping. You may feel grouchy and snap at people you love.

You may be exhausted by some of the people in your life. They are a mess. They disappoint you and hurt you. You expect them to treat you one way, and they let you down.

You want community, but can't find it. And if you do find some kind of community, it's often not safe. Living in community is messy. You have needs and people don't know them and don't meet them.

Erica described this tension in her blog:

"I've been walking with a couple of friends for a while through the consequences of their choices they made before following Christ. Praying for others to give me grace because I know that I am being judged by walking alongside these with visible consequences of their sin."

Life is hard enough without us feeling like it should be something that it is not. It is not tidy and we need to stop holding ourselves to some impossible standard. Yes, there are standards, but we strive for them in the middle of our own mess as we journey through a messed up world.

Admitting the reality of the mess gets us that much closer to grace.

*Romans 7:22-23

Comments (6)

  • We all love to hear the testimony of the guy who went from axe murderer who was shooting heroin into his eyeballs to evangelist…However, most will never take the time to be the one who disciples this person and helps them work through the wreckage they have made of their life and all those around them for those years.

    Discipleship is a messy business and very inconvenient. Someone shoulda sent Jesus to a sophisticated church marketing conference…

    Drip, drip, drip(sarcasm)

  • Thanks, Seth.

    I really needed to remember this. It’s human nature to want everything spelled out. You’re supposed to be THIS way, you’re supposed to live your life THIS way, etc etc etc.

    No one likes the unknown. But Jesus lived his life serving the people who needed it the most…and I’m trying to do the same in this holiday season. It’s cold and rainy where I’m at…we have a large homeless population and a large group of people are activists in this town pushing for human rights.

    We just need to remember that God puts struggles in front of us for a reason.

    It reminds me of this video I recently came across– it’s a cute little song about how Jesus and his followers actually Occupy Jerusalem.

    Anyways, here it is: http://youtu.be/a6akkb_afqs

    Which, it has a point.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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