I was wrong about God.

I was wrong about God.

Much of 2018 was spent unlearning everything I thought I knew about myself. I viciously analyzed my thought processes, habits, and relationships–most importantly my relationship with God.

For a very long time in my life, I saw God as a sort of genie in the sky–a being who saw everything I did and punished me accordingly. I had a paralyzing, all-consuming fear in my heart thinking of the ways He might be disappointed in me.

I tried and tried to be good enough.

To do more.

To be more.

But I always ended up more fearful of and ultimately more distant from my Creator.

The extreme efforts of essentially trying to earn my salvation only muddied the waters of any sort of relationship I had with God. They ruined my vigor, my confidence, and ultimately my faith.

Going to a university with vastly different views than my own only worsened my anxiety regarding my spiritual state. I ended up spiraling into a constant cycle of guilt, silent questioning, and doubt.

At the beginning of 2018, there were really only a couple things I knew for a fact:

  1. I am a born-again Christian.
  2. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

These two realities kept me focused and determined. I took the advice of Proverbs to heart and sought much counsel. From people I admire. From those I cherish. And my notions of God were shattered as a result of it.

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Proverbs 19:20

In my discipleship group, we have been studying the book of Galatians. We’re also reading Galatians for You by Timothy Keller to supplement our Bible reading (I highly recommend).

Disclaimer: I haven’t finished Keller’s book yet, but I really recommend it if you’re looking to study a book of the Bible more in-depth.

Keller breaks down each chapter of Galatians verse by verse, allowing the reader to dive deeper into the book. The book (along with a personal study of Galatians, obviously) has radically changed my view of God. It has shaped my view of the Gospel. It’s allowed me to step back and breathe.

For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to rest in the fullness and freedom of Christ.

Here are a few points I’ve come to realize, thanks to my discipleship group’s study so far. Maybe if you’re in the same boat I was, you can garner some insight from this.

  1. There is one true gospel, and (surprise!) it’s not about us.
  2. The gospel provides cultural and emotional freedom in the lives of Christians.
  3.  As followers of Christ, we are compelled to live in accordance with Scripture.
  4. You cannot combine merit and grace to reach salvation.

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.”

Galatians 1:11

I’ve tried to use my merits as a means for salvation. I’ve tried finding fulfillment in the things this world has to offer. I’ve gone from one thing to the next, looking for acceptance and validation. No amount of compliments, people-pleasing, or new clothes/makeup/whatever can give me complete joy. Only Jesus.

Just the other day I began listening to a sermon series by John MacArthur for my morning devotions. At one point in the message, MacArthur talks about the times Paul tells us to call God our Abba, or Father (Romans 8, Galatians 4). This term isn’t merely poetic or cute. It has deep and powerful implications for our relationship with God. 

Abba is personal. It is endearing. It is loving. With a single word, Paul paints the image of a perfect Father, full of infinite love, longing to have a relationship with His child.

And I now feel fully free to run to Him, despite my past mistakes or my fear of future ones.


P.S. If you have any questions about Keller’s book (or about anything really), I’d love to chat. Feel free to leave a comment or hit the contact button to talk!

Advertisements

Music Moment: Mumford & Sons

Music Moment: Mumford & Sons

Happysad. One word. A weird conglomeration of liberating joy and nostalgic gloom. The feeling that inspires you to travel the world but also isolates you to the cold depths of your heart. That’s the only way I know how to describe Delta, Mumford & Sons’ newest release.

After a three year hiatus, Mumford & Sons returned with Delta on Nov. 16, 2018. It’s no secret that this album is quite different than their previous ones. The folk aspect of Mumford & Sons is now embedded in heavy drums and electronic beats as though it’s begging to get on the Top 40 charts. 

While many critics said that the album was their worst one yet, I truly think it may be one of their most progressive. After switching producers, the band incorporated more indie sounds into the album to give it a modern vibe.

I love how Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice described it: “Delta is also the strongest collection of songs Mumford & Sons have released to date; the cool-handed atmospherics and dreamy melodies here simply suit them better than any other sonic guise they’ve worn.”

The album begins with “42”–a tribute to their 42nd single–and continues with a journey through the mind of Marcus Mumford. The climax of the album is revealed in the transition from “Picture You” to “Darkness Visible.” With an extremely smooth ride from bittersweet love to a contorted poetic reading from Milton’s Paradise Lost, the instruments crescendo until your heart feels as though it’s going to burst. 

While there are some amazing songs on this album, there are definitely a few weak points. Parts of the album lull, putting you off to the next song. I found myself skipping quite a few songs after listening to it a few times.

Favorite song: 42 or Forever

Least favorite song: Slip Away

Overall I give this album a 9/10. This is a super high rating, I know, but something about this album really spoke to me. Ultimately, I don’t think this album is a sell-out. Sure, the band has continued to blend into the mainstream. But it’s clear that Marcus Mumford is using this album to reflect on some very deep and troubling issues in his life, simultaneously causing me to do the same. (Thanks for the existential crisis, y’all.)

Check out Delta by Mumford & Sons on Spotify.