I came to Millar College of the Bible at a very dry place, spiritually. I finished my year at Millar feeling a lot more encouraged … But it had to get worse before it got better.
Numerous things happened in the first semester that forced me to fall at Jesus’ feet. My grandma passed away. I hit a deer and had to write off my car. Stress was causing my back and hands to be really painful. I really struggled to find friends or even find motivation to find friends. Numerous sins and the desire to sin seemed to be so big in my heart that it felt like I was in a constant battle. To top it off, I realized I had been basing my identity on being a guitar player / singer, so when I got placed on a worship team as the keys player, I was crushed. I think I cried more in the first semester than I have my whole life.
So, if I could tell you the number one thing I learned at my year at Millar, it probably would simply be this: the gospel. It is crazy how I am 21 years old, I grew up in the church, but I feel like I am only now understanding it.
Pastor and author Tim Keller put it so beautifully:
“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.”
Throughout this last year, I have come to realize that, without even knowing it, I had forgotten the simplicity of the gospel. And, because of this, I was struggling. I had forgotten that “nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature” (Romans 7:18). That even my best performance, my greatest deeds are like filthy rags compared to God’s perfection (Isaiah 64:6). And because I forgot that, I started living as if I needed to prove myself to God, and feeling immense shame when I would fail.
I had also forgotten that, because God is so extremely loving, so good and gracious, He loves me. He made me in His image and paid the price so He could have a relationship with me. Psalm 139:13 says, “You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. Even better than that, He has taken my brokenness and made me whole. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Isn’t God amazing?
I found this diagram the other day that really illustrates what was going on in my heart…
As we walk with God and read His Word, we will grow in our awareness of His perfect holiness and our own sinfulness. If our awareness of the cross and all that Jesus did for us does not grow with that, we will choose to either ignore God’s holiness or ignore our own sin. When we think less of God, this can lead us to pride in our accomplishments. When we think more of ourselves, it can lead to shame, fear, insecurity and a whole host of other things.
This is the battle that I have been fighting this past year. I can honestly say that I am learning more about Jesus than I ever thought I would and I am also realizing the depth how much I need Him.
I pray that you too can learn to love the gospel and recognize it is NOT just for your salvation, but every day living. It is meant to change your life!