Many forms of chaos exist, but personal weakness is among the most debilitating. It’s not that I have bad intentions. It’s just that my good intentions often fail to manifest through my actions. Because of this, my self-expectations are often unmet, leaving me disappointed with my performance. Therefore, I struggle heavily with self-destruction. I know I’m exposing you to my daily chaos, but honesty is necessary.
It’s difficult for me to recuperate from my failures. After all, Jesus is perfect, and He desires me to live a holy life. But I often neglect the fact that Jesus doesn’t expect perfection from my life.
In the book of Galatians, Paul writes, “How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (3:3 NLT).
There’s that word again: “foolish.” And nobody wants to be a fool. But until we learn the constant through the chaos, we’ll continue living by effort instead of grace.
What is this “constant through the chaos?” Well, let’s catch a glimpse of the “Sermon on the Mount.”
Jesus says, “‘Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash’” (Matt. 7:24-27 NLT).
You see, Jesus is the constant through the chaos. He is the immovable Rock. His grace keeps us grounded when sin tries to subdue us. His love embraces us when weakness tries to enslave us. His peace fills us when anxiety tries to overwhelm us.
“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken” (Ps. 62:2 NLT).
As imperfect people, we’re going to face floodwaters. Torrents of rain are surely to fall. Winds are sure to beat against our hearts. Sometimes, we’ll feel like saints. Other times, we’ll feel like sinners. We have good days, and we have bad days. But “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8 NLT).
I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful for Jesus Christ. I’m thankful that He cares more about my surrender than my effort. I’m thankful that through my imperfections and inconsistencies, He remains my solid foundation of grace.
There’s a beautiful hymn that depicts my message.
“When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the vale. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”
Did you notice the words “unchanging grace?”
“… He [God] never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17 NLT). Everything about God is unchanging, but there’s something special about His unchanging grace. I mean, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve come running back to His unchanging grace. Because of His unchanging grace, He’s forgiven the same sins time and time again in my life.
I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul—more specifically, his struggle with grace. He writes, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it [personal struggle] away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Cor. 12:8-9 NLT).
Allow me to encourage you. As you struggle, don’t lose sight of your constant. When you make mistakes, don’t lose sight of your constant. On your good days, don’t lose sight of your constant. And by all means, on the days you feel like a failure, know you’re standing on Jesus and His unchanging grace.
Trust in His grace. Live in His freedom. He’s the constant through the chaos.
Isaiah Pauley is a senior at Wahama High School. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.