Over the past 14 years, I have been blessed to be a part of so many young people’s lives. I have been on some amazing trips with them which have taken me around the world and I’ve met some incredible people along the way. I’ve loved the many mud bowls, service projects, youth worship services, Bible studies, archery tag, visits to the coffee shop, breakfast before school, fundraisers, and of course, plenty of “teen” all-nighters. I have loved every minute of it and I hope God gives me the endurance to continue in my aging days…haha!
But there is nothing more special to me than being a part of our young people’s faith journey. I’m blessed to be able to walk alongside them as they engage with God’s word, wrestle with the world, realize God’s will for their lives, struggle with sin, live out what they believe, confess what’s in their heart, and own God’s truth as their own. Watching them grow, absorb, and trust in God’s love for them is an amazing privilege that I don’t take for granted.
One of the greatest joys for me is walking with students who have decided to make profession of faith. To hear a young person say that they are ready to tell the whole world about their faith in Jesus Christ, that they own this truth as their own, gives me goosebumps. Part of this journey is having doubts and questions which I love exploring with them.
Recently, I met with one of our students who had some worries about professing faith. Over breakfast, I asked the student what was giving them such anxiety and doubts about their profession. The student replied, “I’m not worthy of God’s love, I can’t be perfect, and I won’t be able to live perfectly for him; I don’t want to be a hypocrite.” WOW! I struggled with what to say next as the tears rolled down my face. “Me too,” is all I could say to this beautiful child of God, “Me too.” We sat there in silence for a second taking in fully the words that have just been spoken. “You too pastor E?” the student asked. “Yes, me too,” I replied. “I am unworthy and unable to live perfectly, I need Jesus every day.” Acknowledging this was a perfect place to start–to start grasping and knowing the depth of God’s amazing love. This young person, even if they didn’t realize it yet, was already in a healthy position and posture in their faith journey.
Tim Keller says this, “We cannot be saved if we think we are good or able. God’s saving power only works on us when we admit that we have no worthiness or goodness in ourselves.” God’s love and his salvation for each of us is not determined by what we are able to do, but rather what Jesus has already done for each of us. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect (that is, most clearly seen) in weakness” 2 Cor 12:9. The power of saving grace is not effective when we are strong but rather when we are weak. And access to God’s grace is not based on our worthiness, or us having it all together, but rather realizing and professing that we are not worthy.
Whether young or old, new to the faith or an elder of the gospel, this is a great lesson for each of us today. Sometimes we can get complacent in our faith journeys and forget that we too need Jesus every single day! To remember that it is in our weakness we find strength, in our mess he makes a message, in our doubts that God brings deliverance, and it is in our imperfection that Jesus’ work on the cross becomes crystal clear. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” Ephesians 2:8-9.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAID, “ME TOO” AND CAME FACE TO FACE WITH YOUR OWN IMPERFECTION? THE WORDS OF THIS STUDENT WOULD BE A GREAT PLACE FOR ANY OF US TO START.
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” 2 Cor 3:5.
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