Crawling towards Jesus, on hands and knees; crying out, with a weak voice and tear-stained face. The rocks scrape your skin, and everything around you seems like darkness, but off in the distance you can make out a light. You struggle towards that light, no matter what, picking yourself up, falling, crawling, always moving toward the light.
This is the image God put in my mind one day while on my morning commute in sunny Southern California. I had been struggling with an addiction to pornography, and, having recently relapsed, my soul was in turmoil. It felt like no matter what I did, I just couldn’t seem to remain pure.
It’s at moments like this that I am reminded of the end of Romans 7, where Paul cries out in anguish, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” This exclamation follows a passage that all of us can relate to, one way or the other. We know what the right thing is, but we seem incapable of doing it. It’s almost as if we are imperfect beings, unable to achieve righteousness through our own effort.
Enter Jesus. No, I don’t mean, baby-in-a-manger Jesus, or even dying-on-the-Cross Jesus. I’m talking about the Jesus who spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well; who told the Pharisees to cast the first stone; who called to Peter from the shore after his resurrection. In all of these instances, Jesus shows His character as one who meets us in our brokenness and shame, knowing full well what we’ve done, yet still inviting us into a life that is surrendered to Him.
In my song, Desperate, I reference Zechariah 3, which is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. In this passage, the prophet Zechariah is shown a vision of the Accuser, Satan, confronting the High Priest Joshua with his faults, failures, and mistakes. But look how God responds:
And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan!
The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!
Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?
Throughout the rest of the chapter, God goes on to remove Joshua’s filthy garments – which he clarifies represent his sins – and dresses him in righteousness instead. This is a perfect illustration of what Jesus does for us when we enter into His presence. We show up, covered in the dirty rags of pride, lust, greed, and resentment, and He restores us, as we surrender these things to Him. Perhaps there was a reason that the very first word Jesus said in His ministry was, “Repent!”, which He followed up with the Good News, “The Kingdom of Heaven is here!
I don’t know what’s been weighing you down, keeping you from walking closely with Jesus, but I’d like to encourage you. Remember that you are not condemned (Romans 8), and that, though we may fall, Proverbs 24:16 tells us that we will get back up. In those moments, remember to fall forward.
By MC Hamsa