Living in the Borderland
I don't feel like a boy.
I don't feel like a man.
These are the first lines to the title track off of John Mark McMillan's album Borderland, and these are also the words that can aptly describe the last 2 or 3 years of my life. Being in Istanbul, a city literally on the border of Europe and Asia, I have spent a lot of time in transition going from one continent to the other. I have places to stay on both sides and so it really depends on my schedule that day where I am going to sleep which has helped add to the feeling of constant transition.
If I think about my spiritual life, I would say it's always a transition. I believe in the theological idea called progressive sanctification and what that means is that when someone becomes a follower of Jesus Christ, they don't automatically become this perfect person and never sin again, but rather, since we are living in a sin-soaked world and were born sinners (Psalm 51), while we are still on the earth, our lives are going to be a continuing sanctification process. The ideal is that we look more and more like Christ each day, and that is through fighting sin through the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26) and continuing to take up our crosses daily (Luke 9:23) in order to be a testimony of the love of Jesus in this world. (Matthew 5:14-16)
That being said, I am someone who loves to see progress. I have an app on my iPhone that shows me how many steps and miles I've gone throughout the day and I am continually checking it to see how close I am to my daily goals I've set for myself. I used to be on an iPhone app called "Lyft" that I could check off my daily Bible reading so others could hold me accountable and see if I had a 5-day streak or so on, and I have to confess, I am a competitive person (ask Emily or any of my friends) and some days I would read just so I could keep my streak alive and not to nourish my soul. This sometimes leads me to become frustrated when I slip back into sin that I thought I have overcome or didn't think I had to worry about and to beat myself up about it.
Fortunately, I have community in my life. I am so thankful that I have surrounded myself with people who not only call out my blindspots, but also encourage me to keep fighting when the going gets tough. My friend, Adam Zodrow, has recently reminded me, "It's not your job to forgive yourself. Own the sin. Give it to Christ. and leave it. If it were up to you to do the forgiving, it would never happen. That's the gospel." Amen. That is the gospel. Even greater than having community in my life, I have Christ. And in Hebrews it says that he will lives to make intercession for his brothers and sisters. He goes to the uttermost, always for his family.
So while I am in the Borderland, I remember that I have Christ on his throne praying for me. One day we'll be out of the Borderland, but while we're here, we make the most of it and we keep pushing through the darkness, cause our King is coming back.