I had a conversation with a friend the other day that went something like this:
Friend: I am tired of trying to be something I am not.
Me: So you are willing to embrace a lifestyle that hurts you, everyone around you and is self destructive?
Friend: Yes, I just can't pretend anymore.
Me: How is being a Christian, reading your bible, praying and trying to seek God's will for your life pretending and not who you really are?
Friend: I don't know, but its not.
This made me pause and really think about things. This person has believed they are not being true to who they are because being a Christian seems fake to them and you know what maybe it is, in the beginning.
My mom always had a saying "Fake it till you make it." Am I suggesting we fake a relationship with God. Never! But how many of us can sit here and say when we first became a Christian we knew what we had signed up for? None of us!!
When I was a teenager/young adult I would not give God the time of day. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. But I didn't really know any better and had no one guiding me in all truth. I too, remember thinking it was too hard to be a Christian and the world had so much more to offer. And it does, and it is easier...for awhile.
And so I did it my way and was true to who I thought I was. But it was so miserable. I was miserable and I created misery everywhere I went b/c of my attitude.
I have vivid memories of "trying" to be a "good Christian", of trying to serve God but once that euphoric feeling had passed it was back to business as usual.
God isn't a feeling, b/c if He were then either everyone in the world would be saved and know Him or no one would.
I know that I don't want to find out ever again who I am without God. John 15 paints the perfect picture of who we can be with Christ and who we are when He is no longer part of us. God is the vinedresser. We are clean b/c of Him. And as we seek Him and follow Him in all truth He will cut away any branches in us that aren't producing good fruit until we are completely all for Him in all areas of our lives.
For someone who is struggling to find who they are in Christ that may mean staying clear of negative influences for awhile or forever until God has pruned us to where He wants us. Or to where we are secure that nothing will cause us to stumble.
And what is even cooler is that the branches that are producing good fruit, he prunes so they can produce even more!
WHO WE REALLY ARE is whoever or whatever our vine is. If your vine is the world then that is who you will become. James 1:14-15 makes no bones about what will happen when we give into our temptations (which are no different from the same ones Jesus struggled with) and live the way of ourselves etc. And just so I am clear, the world will cut off your branches also. It will cut away any kind of "good" trying to attach itself to you.
But if your vine is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, expect amazing things. Notice I didn't say easy things. The world's vine spins this lie that its so much easier to live according to yourself but if that is true then why is there so much pain and turmoil in these people's lives? Not to mention the pain they are causing those who love them.
Jesus is my vine and while my life has been far from pain free or problem free it is never lacking peace or joy.
Who or what is your vine?