I had an Aha! moment last week, folks. And you know what happens when I Aha!
I share it.
But first, let me tell you about Saint John of Kronstadt.
He was a Russian priest in the mid-19th century whose charity and heart for unchurched people is something of inspiration. James Bryan Smith writes in his book The Good and Beautiful God about John of Kronstadt, telling about his mission to love those who felt they were outside the limits of God’s grace. John of Kronstadt would often go out into the streets in the early mornings, not to preach, but to lift the drunk and hungover, the filthy and hopeless out of their stupor. He would hold them in his arms and say, “This is beneath your dignity. You were meant to house the fullness of God.”
Just like that.
After reading those words, it suddenly became very hard to remain complacent about mediocrity.
As a Christian, my identity was clear from the beginning: I am just a sinner, saved by the grace of God.
One thing I never struggled with as a believer was the overwhelming goodness of God, the utter depravity of my heart, and the desperate need for a Savior to come and fix it all. That part of the story always made sense because I knew myself well.
When I crossed the threshold from Non-Christian to Christian, what I failed to realize and internalize and adopt was what Galatians 2:20 says so clearly, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
Will I sin? Sure. Every other chapter in the book of Romans pretty much drives that point home. But the overarching theme of the Gospel isn’t about sin and its poisonous effects and consequences. For every verse pointing out our sinfulness, there is an exponential amount of verses describing this indwelling of Christ within us. Sinner is no longer our identity. We are no longer identified to God as Sinners who sometimes get it right. We are now Saints (who sometimes sin).
I am no longer simply a sinner saved by the grace of God.
I am a daughter ransomed by the King.
I was meant to house the fullness of God.
There seems to be a tremendous amount of pressure when you consider that. I cannot and should not be satisfied with a half-full life. I must always be filling myself with more of God. There is no room for mediocrity.
And yet at the same time, there is a sort of liberation in refusing to accept stagnancy. There is freedom in knowing that I don’t have to struggle, daily, with the petty sins that eat away at that fullness. It is a life of freedom that God longs to offer us. Freedom from guilt, from the dominion of sin, from the eternal consequence of that sin.
Understanding the narrative that I have been fashioned for greatness makes me eager to head in that direction. Understanding that, though I will inevitably screw it up, Jesus has already dusted me off, clothed me in His righteousness, and invited me to the ball.
Knowing that it was never about me and my sin, but ultimately and eternally about God and His fullness?
What God sees when He gazes at us is a heart coated by the perfect blood of Jesus.
A life washed in the standard of Jesus.
An identity transformed by the ability of Jesus.
Who God sees when He gazes at me is a worthy citizen of Heaven.
Because despite my most stubborn efforts, His fullness finds a home in me.