LET GOD CLEAN UP THE MESS

It really hurt my heart. I had just asked her to come to church with me when she shifted uncomfortably and said, “I’d like to, I’d really like to, but I need to get my life straightened out first.” Ouch. I tried hard to encourage her, but she still wouldn’t come.

Please hear me, it doesn’t matter how messed up your life is, God still wants you! The bible is full of stories about hustlers, murderers, prostitutes, cowards, adulterers and mercenaries that God changed and used for His glory. King David broke a big portion of the ten commandments in about two chapters, and yet he’s still called a man after God’s own heart. There was Moses the coward and murderer, Noah the drunkard, Abraham the liar, Jacob the cheater, Paul the religious terrorist and plenty of others. When Jesus picked his 12 apostles he simply told them, “Come follow me,” not “Clean up your lives and when you have, come see me and I’ll let you know if you are in or not.”

I’m not sure where she learned it, but it broke my heart for her to feel like she had to have her life cleaned up, straightened up or fixed up before she could come to church or come to God. If you are one of those who think you need to get your life fixed before coming to God, don’t believe the Devil’s lie. Come to the Father just as you are. Don’t wait until you feel good enough, because you never will (at least I never have).

Hopefully we haven’t portrayed the church as a place you go once you have your life all fix up and going well. Instead, much like a hospital, the church is full of sick people, not people that are physically sick, but spiritually sick. We’ve come to Him because we need help, hope and forgiveness, not because our lives are straightened out. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sinner. I screw up royally on a regular basis. If you don’t believe that … ask my wife (smile), she knows me well.

If you are in need of your Heavenly Father, don’t try to clean up your own life first. Let Him do it (Titus 3:5). When the prodigal son came home to his father, don’t you know he was dirty, nasty and stunk from feeding pigs. And what did the father say when he saw the boy in all his filthiness? “You stink! Clean up first and then come tell me why you’ve come home?” Nope, instead he wrapped his arms around his dirty son’s neck, squeezed hard and with tears in his eyes said, “Welcome home Son.”

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you’ve become, you can always come home to the Father. Just like you are.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
14 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Stoogelover says:

    Having moved from one side of church leadership and the pulpit to the other and having gone through the process of trying to find a home church, I regret to say that the church viewed through the eyes of most “outsiders” or visitors looks like people who really have it all together and are pretty close knit. I’ve said it before and will say it again, everyone in church leadership should have to go through the process of finding a new church home. I think many, many things would change … for the better.

  2. Tim Archer says:

    Amen, Trey. Those that criticized Jesus for eating with sinners didn’t understand that point. Jesus always taught that we don’t have to be worthy to come to God; we come to God and he makes us worthy.

    And Greg is right; we need to do a better job of communicating that the church is a place for sinners, not perfect people. I’m trying to convince our elders to take down the church sign and put up a new one that says “Sinners Anonymous.” I’m not having much luck with that.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  3. David Kirk says:

    Very good post!

  4. Joshua Tucker says:

    I heard Mike Tanaro say once that “people don’t come into our religion because they think they’re not good enough, and they’re right!” His point was that none of us are good enough, and we never will be. That’s the point of the cross.

    He also said, “our religion works best when we need it the most”.

    The difference between Christianity and all other “religions” is that they all say you get to Heaven by doing things. But we believe Jesus did it for us, and that it has absolutely nothing to do with merit on our part.

    It’s a sad thing that we have given a different message to the outside world. How much more appealing would it sound to people that they could come to a place just as they are, without being judged. A place where we all freely admit we’re not good enough, but we’re just thankful that God forgives us. And because of that, we spend a lot of our time trying to love and help each other.

    I’m afraid it’s easy to make the Gospel about a lot of things other than the cross: God’s huge message that we can NEVER be good enough but He loves us anyway. Oh, what a motivation! This needs to preached and lived so very badly.

    Thanks for the reminder Trey.

  5. cwinwc says:

    I’m with everyone else Trey – great post. In my opinion as far as our fellowship is concerned, our focus on “right doctrine” to the exclusion at times of (borrow some Jeff Walling phrases) our need for a Messiah because we’re messed up has communicated the very message this young lady was telling you.

    If I’m going to go to a church that prides itself on being right then that means I have to get my life “right” before I can join them.

  6. Brandon says:

    The Church should not “Judge” it’s members with a fine tooth come but love everyone in the “Church” for we all belong to God! The best two versus Love the Lord with all your heart! and Love your neighbor as “yourself” I go to “Church” in my offencive Ibs ways and get the nose finguring going! I haven’t been able to venture to my first “Church” because they don’t see me, They only see my phisical problems! You can never judge a book by it’s cover, Well you can’t judge a person by thier outward apperance either! Ha remember what happend to the kids who teased Elijah, same will happen to those who make fun of others infront of the Lord! Love Obey Trust Forgive Forget! The 5 words I remember Most! Amen!

  7. JoAnn says:

    The enemy uses the “not good enough” mindset to separate us from God. Course we help it along by not being willing to show our own struggles and sin. Thats the power of the Cardboard Testamonies…real folks, being completely vunerable and honest. Its about having courage to bring our sins out of the darkness and into the light so it encourages others to do the same. I understand what its like to take a risk and show people we love (in the church) our sins. We already feel rejected and being judged by people who should love us the most is often more than people can handle. The question becomes “is my life such a mess that you won’t love me”? God says COME! It’s us “Christians” that muck it up.

    Another great post, Trey.
    JoAnn

  8. Larry Bob Lane says:

    Great posts and comments. I think there may be a lot of reasons people are not coming into the church for one thing or another. I do not know why. But one thing I do know is that Jesus is ready to accept all those that will follow him. He never expected people to follow him against their will. That is why we are to go teach and serve others. In the hopes that the message will change their will and want to follow. I hope that people are searching for Jesus when they walk in the door of the Lord’s Church . With a whole lot of encouragement from people that are just like them. Sinners that are trying to get to heaven with encouragement and love shown to one another.

  9. preacherman says:

    Trey,
    Wonderful post.

  10. Matt says:

    Trey, we had a young man last week say the same thind and we told him no, no, no! you don’t have to get your ducks in row before God will accept you. In fact that is WHY Jesus came. The man actually said, “where have you been all my life?” The news is still good especially to those who have never heard it. Thanks for the post bro!

  11. Jeanne M. says:

    Matt 9:12-13, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31

    12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician , but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” NKJV

    If Jesus came only to those who were “well,” then these scriptures have no meaning. But He did come to heal all of us sinners, and emphasized this by making at least these three references.

    I am so grateful that He loves me – and everyone – and is willing to forgive, no matter how bad we feel about ourselves. As has been said, we will never be “good enough,” and we cannot ever start out “whole” in our spiritual life. We are babes in need of the Savior, and spiritual food to help us grow and mature. Joann spoke of the need to know that those who seem well have their weaknesses, too. We have learned to hide them because we don’t want anyone to know and not like or trust us. But there is nobody on this good earth who has lived, or will live, the perfect life except the Great Physican. We used to sing that song a lot, and maybe we have become enured to its meaning – the sympathizing Jesus, who speaks to cheer our drooping hearts. Love one another for love is of God

  12. Robert Lukenbill says:

    The sad part is that those who think they have no need of a physician are really sick too! We all have a need for Jesus. We all need to come to him and let his blood heal our wounds. This was a wonderful post Trey. Keep up the hard work brother!

  13. One Observationist says:

    I can understand the lady not wanting to go to church until she had her “life straightened out first.”

    My perception of church reality is this: The current configuration of the church is not what Christ established in the 1st Century. Church is not the Sunday or Wednesday formal services. Church is meeting from house to house sharing meals and lives together.

    So, given that, I think it is tragic that the church has become a symbol of a group of people that have it all figured out. An even more tragic fact is that the church has become a social club that serves fairly little purpose in the day to day life of people.

    This is a stereotype and I’m sure there are churches out there that do not fit this stereotype. I just haven’t found one yet.

    Jeremy

  14. roadtripray says:

    Trey,

    Great message. I wish I could bottle it up and annoint the highway in front of my church with that message. I know this may sound weird, but sometimes I like to just stand or walk around the church grounds watching the stream of cars drive by and think about how many of those people long so desperately for what only Jesus can give them. If they only knew that they could come in and find healing and restoration. If they only saw us as a loving group of people who are all in the boat of worldly weaknesses together.

    Stoogelover,
    I pastor two churches full of people who have mostly been in their respective church for generations. That’s a good thing, except it’s important to have people in leadership who understand and can empathize with someone coming in for the first time. And I’m not just talking about the first time to that particular church, but in many cases the first time coming to church at all.

    Peace,
    Ray

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • good list. Don't forget Nickelback, OJ, ISIS and beer-throwing Blue Jay fans.
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