A few years back a family who used to be leaders in the church I went to seemed to have gone nuts. They got a divorce and she became a lesbian and he turned to the party scene. My heart broke for their two beautiful children. It forced me to wrestle through thoughts on if they really had been Christians in the first place and how they could have gotten so far away from God in what seemed like such a short amount of time.
Then last week a women's ministry leader was telling me about a very similar experience that was bringing to her mind the very same questions I had wrestled through. It seems that often there are Christians in the news being exposed of some horrendous sin they have committed, like Josh Duggar.
The Lord promises to use all things for the good of those who love Him, and that includes even me and I believe you if you put your faith in Christ's work on the cross. So what good can come from this? What can we learn from something so heartbreaking?
Josh Duggar's situation reminds us of perhaps one of the most important things we could ever deeply understand, that we can't live the Christian life by our own effort-by trying hard. Living the Christian life is impossible... except with God.
When I was younger I had a chart I would measure my "goodness" by each day. I tried my very hardest to be good for God. My heart was pure, I wanted to please Him with everything I had. The problem was that I was trying to please Him by my own finite effort, which was impossible. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to live the perfect life.
Take the fruit of the Spirit for example. Who doesn't want to be loving, kind, gentle and self-controlled? What beautiful qualities! But the thing is, they are fruit of the Holy Spirit, not fruit of our own effort of trying hard. Fruit doesn't grow by trying really hard, fruit only grows by yielding, or staying connected to the branch. It is the same with us. We can't live the Christian life by trying really hard to not sin. We only successfully live the Christian life by yielding (abiding) in Christ.
The truth is, we are all capable of living like Josh Duggar or the leaders in my old church. And the other truth is that God is able to keep us from falling if we stay connected to Him as an apple does to a branch. Our sin may not be as outward (or exposed) as Josh Duggar. Our sin may be securely hidden in our hearts like jealousy or come out of our mouth like gossip, but really it's just as destructive.
So what does Josh Duggar remind us? That even if we are a Christian, we still desperately need Jesus to enable us to live the Christian life.
"Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? Having begun in the Spirit are you now being made perfect by the law?" Galatians 3:3
Here's a video explaining what yielding and staying connected to Jesus as an apple does to a branch practically looks like.
Laura, the founder of Missional Women is married and has five kids, two of whom are adopted. Laura and her husband have been missionaries to college students for 13 years serving with Master Plan Ministries where she is the Women's Development Coordinator. Laura has authored 5 books, including an award winning 12 week Bible Study on First Samuel, Beholding Him, Becoming Missional, Reach; How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God, and A Devotional Journey through Judges, a devotional to accompany the free online Bible study at TheBookofJudges.com. You can find her on facebook,twitter, pinterest, youtube, instagram and her author site.
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