Last night our High School Ministry had our first ever Messy Night. Let me tell you, it got real messy. The night involved various games and relays all centered on getting messy. We arm wrestled with Crisco smeard all over arms and the table surface, we played games involving yogurt, flour, puffed rice, choclate syrup, toothpaste, well you get the picture. Of course we ended our time together eating sloppy joes.
As we went through the night I was remined how God allows us to come before Him in our messy state. I shared this with the students at the conclusion of the night. We have a God that takes us just the way we are, but loves us too much to let us remain that way.
Our students cleaned themselves up, as much as possible, before coming to the table to eat. Jesus allows us to come to Him, and dine, without cleaning up first.
I love the story of Jesus in John 4, in which He spends time with a very messy person. It is a lady at a well, at which Jesus stopped for a drink. For one, she was a Samaritan, and Jews in that day, would have nothing to do with them. Jesus did.
Secondly, as they conversed, her messiness came more and more to light. She had had five husbands, and the man she was currently living with, she was not even married to. To her suprise Jesus accepted her! Through all her messiness she revealed to Jesus a desire to know Him. That is what Jesus focused on. He did not focus on her past, rather her desire to know Him. It changed her life forever! It also changed the lives of many others. In verse 39 we see that many in her community came to faith in Jesus as well.
I am thankful to have a God like that. If for some reason you are holding back on approaching Jesus because of your past, don't. Don't allow your past or even your present condition, keep you from beginning a love relationship with Jesus. If you already have a relationship with Him, don't allow your past or your present condition, prevent you from going further with your relationship.
I appreciate the words of Mike Yaconelli who went home to be with his Lord two years ago today. In his book Messy Spirituality he says,
"Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives."
Don't allow your past stand in the way or your future.