Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself...
Hi. I am Atiya Chase. I am a sinner. sinner I 'siner I noun a person who transgresses against divine law by committing an immoral act or acts. I am unclean. My heart - full of greed, jealousy, envy, gluttony, judgement. I am unclean. My lips - full of hateful speech...slander, lies, curses, careless and reckless, meaningless words that I must give an account for. I am unclean. My mind - full of worry, anxiety, vain thoughts and desires, judgmental. I am unclean. Dirty. Filthy. Unrighteous. Lawless. Common. Trifling. Egregious. For most of my life, I have believed that I was essentially a good Christian. I mean, "I have a good heart." Right?!?! I have tried to live my life in ways that I thought would please God...not drinking, not smoking, not killing, not having sexual intercourse until marriage, not using profanity, yadda, yadda, yadda. I abstained from the list of "Christian No-No's" as defined in the Christian Starter Pack. And in true self-righteous fashion, I deemed myself a pretty good Christian. God should be pleased with all of this work I am doing for him. Right?!?!
I was saved at a young age. Spoke in tongues early too. I read the Bible in its entirety. I got trophies and awards in Sunday School. I'm super saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost filled and fire baptized. Oh, what a scary mentality to take on...one where you declare yourself righteous. It's a very slippery slope. I went sliding down this proverbial slope and crashed. I crashed into the real me. I was met with pride and self-righteousness. I met the ugly girl. And my God...she stunk. I stunk. I saw myself, my heart, my desires, my words, my thoughts in a way that I have never seen them before. What's interesting is that I had the great idea to ask God to show me, me. I asked him to draw my heart close to his. And in him drawing me close, he showed me my true nature. It's raunchy. It's rank. It's nasty. It's selfish, inconsiderate, self-loathing, whiney, full of poo poo, caca, ish. I realized in those moments where I asked God to uncover the deep recesses of my soul how far away from him I was and how close he was calling me to himself. He was and still is pulling me through the sludge of my soul. The closer and closer I get to his light, my inconsistencies, short-comings, my sins are on display for me to admit and repent. This picture of me is not the picture I wanted to see but it's the truth that I needed digest. It is here, that the truth will make you free. Truth is, I am filthy. I am unclean. I am a sinner. I am unrighteous. I am all those things described above. And let me tell you, I am not too far from falling back into all that is above either. Saved by grace. This is also me. I am loved. I am salt. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am the apple of his eye. I am full of peace, full of joy, patient, kind, and loving. I am have self-control, and am truthful. Honest. Full of hope. Holy. Righteous. This nature is not of my own. It's only from the one above that I can wear these clothes.
The Nature of Christ Apart from Christ, death becomes me. With Christ, I receive life more abundantly. In my search for the hope of glory, I am reminded of the dire importance of renewing my mind. It is here, the seat of the heart and mind that I make reservations either at the table of my own self-righteousness or at the King's table. By nature, I am extremely hard on myself. I am very critical of every move I make to the point where I won't move at all. I will stay stuck for fear of making the wrong choice. It's really a crippling mentality to have and I realize that this holds me back from pursuing dreams and the plans of God for my life. I have asked the Holy Spirit to help me in my decision-making. I am leaning on God's promises and not my performance. After all, it's my sin nature that makes me pursue things outside of the will of God for fulfillment. The nature of Christ is rooted in love. Not a love of self. I don't need not another (and I said it right)...I don't need not nan 'nother other book, magazine, podcast, Facebook post, IG story, or motivational speaker to lie to me about learning to love my nasty, flesh-eating self. I am craving the truth that leads to eternal life and not to eternal damnation. I'm filling up on that love that can't be explained with words....that unconditional, I'm going to die on the cross for you, take on your wrongs as my own, and then come to save you from yourself kind of love. The love of the good father. This love is the love that will lead to a change of heart.
There is Hope Taking off these old raggedy, dusty, busted, graves clothes that I have become accustomed to requires intention. Becoming like Christ is denial of self. It is an intentional turning away from sinful thoughts, desires, and ways that separate you from God. This journey will demand sacrifice, self-control, self-examination, commitment, discipline and all those other curse words that hurt. The walk will be worth the work and the work will be worth the prize. Say that fast 5 times...LOL!
So, You Want to Reinvent Yourself?
1. Pray More
A few months back, I started to feel a tug on my heart. I knew it was the Lord trying to get my attention. I knew he wanted something from me. When I took the time to dissect those feelings and impressions, I knew God was calling me to go deeper. So, I began to increase my prayer time. I feel like prayer should always be your first response to anything as a Believer. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, daily.
2. Discipline Yourself
Like anyone wanting to get into shape, you begin to condition yourself for the journey ahead. Start with a good Bible reading plan or devotional that will guide you closer to God. Set intentions to fast, pray, read, and meditate.
3. Find an Partner
Ask the Holy Spirit who you should partner with to hold you accountable throughout this journey. For me, the Lord led me to my cousin. When we talked, she felt God pulling on her too. We have become accountable to each other.
4. Be Patient
This is probably the hardest step for me. I want everything fast. For this reason, I have asked the Holy Spirit to help my heart to be okay with slow progress and to understand that slow progress is progress. This can't be rushed. You have learned to live in sin for a long time. After all, the Bible says that we were born into sin and shaped in inequity (Psalm 51:5). You've had a long time to learn this sin life and it will take time to learn this life of righteousness.
Hi. My name is Atiya Chase. Allow me to reintroduce myself to...me. If you thought this reintroduction was about you, you are mistaken.
I am a sinner saved by grace.