Life can be very difficult. The deck seems to be stacked against us. Just when things seem to be turning around the bottom falls out again. We desperately want relief! The longing for things to be good again is making us vulnerable to all sorts of compromises. I can help you with this.
First, let’s remove the shock and shame of those moments when hard-pressed you suddenly rages, binges, goes faithless, or simply shows up as a very unappealing version of you.
Salvation is a process, not an event.
Oh yes—salvation is a homecoming to be sure. That is the event. Our salvation begins when we first turn toward Jesus with an open heart. We come to him for mercy. We ask him to forgive us for living so much of our life utterly ignoring him. We invite him in as our rescuer. We also surrender; we yield the throne of our lives to him. That’s the homecoming, and our Father is so absolutely giddy over it he wants to throw you a party. (In fact, the angels did party over your homecoming—see Luke 15.)
Our homecoming is utterly life-changing.
But what surprises us, what can really dishearten us, is that it’s not instantaneously life-changing. Not thoroughly, that is. This is because salvation is also the re-creation of our fallen humanity, a restoration of our life through union with Christ. And that happens over time.
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18)
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14)
Note the process clearly laid out in these verses—dawn today, cleansed and now being made holy.
But you already know this to be true; you’re living out the process every day.
Parts of you seem well-inhabited by Christ. The rest of you seems practically pagan (revealed in your driving, bingeing, media choices, fantasy life, or the desire for life to be good again overwhelming all other faculties). How can these parts exist in the same human being? Because we are like stained glass—beautiful even in our brokenness, but made up of many fragments.
Everyone is fragmented.