The Christian Life is not A + B = C.

Author - Sydney Gunn

I can't believe it has already been a month since we arrived! One month ago, I moved into a random house in New Braunfels, Texas, with four strangers and a group of leaders. Our welcoming was met with excitement and love. Some of those close to me knew I needed this new opportunity, others were hesitant, and I, on the other hand, knew I needed to go but was not excited. A month later, God has been doing a lot in my heart! We have had the opportunity to go on a "staycation" in New Braunfels and then take a ten-day mission trip to Maui. It has been a pretty memorable month! Through all of this, God has been softening my hard heart heart since the move here. He has been helping me learn to lay down my desires, let go of control, and remind me of His never-ending, unfailing love for me.

At the end of last week, our team flew back from Maui. As the Lord would have it, it was also my birthday. It was quite a birthday to remember, from getting to fly first class to feeling incredibly loved by my teammates and leaders. I was very grateful for a group of people who loved me well despite only knowing me for such a short amount of time!

After a quiet weekend of recouping and seeking the Lord, we have finally settled into a "semi-routine" this week. My perfectionist, planning, and structured mind has enjoyed consistency. On the other hand, my deep desire to "have it all together," a life of busyness and organized chaos, has settled into just "being." It has been a refresher for my soul to experience the calm in the midst of what has felt like a storm for the last two years. God has been helping me a lot with "being" and not always having to have a plan. There can be true joy that comes from spontaneity!

My brain has felt a bit of "information overload" as we've started diving into discovering and studying the Bible while deepening our theology. I am leaving our sessions each day, pondering what I believe and how it influences or affirms my theology.

This week, we have been reading through Genesis. Throughout this book, God continually reminds us that He does not work through "cause and effect." His people often run from Him, yet God's sovereignty still reigns despite our choices. We as humans easily fall into the lie that "if I do good, I will be rewarded." We tend to perform and do things to impact how God acts and blesses us. Genesis reminds us that God blesses and grants grace despite our decisions.

This understanding of God's character can bring many questions to our hearts:
  •  If I can't "work" to earn God's favor, then what am I supposed to do?
  • Is God's grace an excuse to keep on sinning?
  • How do I know I am saved?
  • How much do we cause something to happen versus letting God control situations?

These questions can unpack more questions that we have been working through as a group and individually this week. Below is what I have found to settle my soul. My hope is you won't take my word for it but also seek to know these truths deep in your heart as well, as the Holy Spirit guides you.

God gives us unconditional love. He loves us DESPITE anything we have done or will do (Ephesians 2:8-9). How you live has nothing to do with whether or not you are saved. You are saved simply by belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 3:15-17). Your works do not earn your way into heaven. While a relationship with the Lord "should" produce good fruits in your life, it does not denote whether or not you are a Christian or a believer in Christ.

God will continue to work out things for good despite our sins and choices. Approaching our life with the Lord is not A + B = C. It is not logical (as much as my logical brain wants that to be the case). While I have often KNOWN these things... it has been a sweet reminder of the Lord to unsettle some misconstrued theology I have slowly picked up.

Unknowingly, the last few years have involved me seeking the approval of God, forgetting about His grace, and working to "prove" my salvation. No wonder I came into this year tired and worn out. God's sweet reminders of His grace, Gospel, and unconditional love have already given my soul rest.

And in all this, I am learning and being reminded that it is all a work of the Holy Spirit in us that we can choose to yield to. Our discussion of the  "make-up of man," (a dichotomy or trichotomy, depending on your belief), a previously surface-level understanding of mine, has brought many answers to questions I have been trying to answer over the last year. So far, my biggest personal takeaway is - we are daily either choosing to live by the Spirit or the flesh. We can be doing "good" things for the Lord, but it is nothing if it is not from the Spirit. We have a daily decision to yield to the Holy Spirit or live by the flesh, and yielding to the Spirit is what produces good fruit in our lives with Christ.

My prayer for you this week is for the Holy Spirit be your guide. May He continue to show you His grace and unfailing love despite anything you do for Him.
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