I have a confession. I am a failure as a Christian and a pastor. Now I’m not looking for sympathy or encouraging words because as I will reveal, being a failure is not a bad thing! As I consider my failure at being a Christian and a pastor I am actually comforted and encouraged.
First, I better tell you how I am a failure. Not long ago I was driving when someone pulled in front of me and made me slam on my brakes. That just ticked me off! This rude, obnoxious person doesn’t even know that I’m mad. So I honked my horn just to demonstrate my frustration. A few days later I came to a yield sign and pulled out right in front of a vehicle who had to slam on their brakes for me. Somehow I didn’t see them, and for some reason the very thing that was an atrocity when it happened to me was now not as bad because it’s me at fault.
I’m a Christian Pastor, but in that moment of frustration I wasn’t very Christ-like. I definitely was not loving that driver like Jesus does. And trust me, this is not the first time nor will it be the last time I fail at being Christ-like. I have the knowledge of how a Christian should act, but still I fail miserably.
I’m a failure as a pastor. If you have spent any time in Sunday school or church you, no doubt also have an idea how a Christian should act. The subliminal message we receive in church is that the person I am, that God created, is flawed, not good enough, and needs to change. We are given the standard of what Christian living looks like, and if you are like me, we fail.
The standards of today’s Christianity kills individual personality. If I am to be measured by the pre-supposed Christian moral standards, I am failure. Anyone who knows me knows that I am full of personality. I’m ok with that! And do you know what? Jesus is ok with that! As I study the Scriptures and see how Jesus pastored His disciples I see something very different than what is taught today.
Jesus picked 12 guys with different personalities to follow Him for 31/2 years. I asked myself the question, did Jesus ever tell them to change their God-given personalities? Their thoughts changed, their desires changed, and yes their lives changed, but their personalities continued to shine through.
Peter and John are perfect examples of contrasting personalities. Peter was always the first guy to speak and act. Peter jumped out of a boat in stormy waters. Peter cut off a man’s ear defending Jesus. Peter was also the one who preached on the day of Pentecost and 3000 people became Believers.
John on the other hand was quite different. He was the one in the background supporting and cheering you on. He was always calm and the peacemaker. The only message John could only write was the abundance of God’s love for you.
As I read the accounts of Peter, John, Phillip, Paul, James, and others I am encouraged. I don’t have to look like every other Christian. It’s ok to be who I am with the personality God gave me. I don’t have to change, and even if I wanted to, I can’t. Is there space for a misfit like me?
Today, I’m fully aware that you might identify as the person who does not fit the Christian mold. You’ve found it impossible to be the person the preacher says you ought to be, and you’re tired of trying to be something you’re not. I’m here to give you a breath of fresh air and encourage you that it’s ok. It’s ok to be you! Christ living in us changes us, of course, but God’s love, flows out of you through the character and personality He also gave you.
Instead of giving up because you cannot change, rejoice in the person God made you. You are valuable, not because your personality has changed, but because you are unique and unlike everyone else. If God values your uniqueness, then it is your uniqueness that you should embrace. And through your uniqueness show the love of God in you.
In light of this, I’m encouraged in my failure at Christianity. If I could do it on my own I would have no need for Jesus and His strength in my life. Being a Christian failure is not a negative, but a positive. For in all things, Christ now becomes my strength. Man cannot define who I ought to be. My identity is in who Jesus made me to be.
Will you join me in celebrating your failure at being a Christian? It’s the most refreshing peace of mind ever!