The Christian message is not that life isn’t messy. Honestly, it’s the opposite. The Christian message doesn’t claim that life is neat or tidy or straightforward. The Christian message says that life is— and always will be—exceedingly, frustratingly messy. You know it, and so do I.
But there’s another part to the message. It’s just as true and even more important. Yes, life is messy, but Jesus is real. That’s a big deal. That’s the gospel. That word gospel, which is a churchy word, for sure, means good news. And the fact that Jesus is real in the midst of life’s messiness is good news. He’s where everything that’s healing and good and grace-filled begins and ends.
But it begs the question: How do we flourish in this messy world?
Step 1 – Acknowledge the Mess
It seems simplistic, but we have to acknowledge the mess. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t try and save face. Just own it. This is a mess. I am a mess. I have failed. I am hurt. Things are broken. Acknowledging the mess is the first step in the journey, and our ability to own our issues is the beginning of God’s healing work. No matter how long you have followed Jesus, you are still messy. Don’t forget how messy Jesus’ life was, along with every Biblical character. Your life is messy too. Own that.
Step 2 – See God’s Resolution
If the only reality were that life is a mess, well, that would be a pretty dreary outlook. Life is messy. But Jesus is real, and Jesus is God’s resolution to the mess. Jesus’ perfectly lived life, death on the cross, resurrection from the dead and ascension is how God resolves all of our angst about the messiness of life. The story that is even more important than the messiness of life is the reality of Jesus. The person and work of Jesus is the defining narrative of our lives. If we can begin to see our messiness in the context of the good news of Jesus, things begin to quickly change.
Step 3 – Continue in the Pursuit
Once we resolve the mess with the person and work of Jesus, then the pursuit begins. This is the life journey of everyone who follows Jesus. Each and every day, we are learning to walk through this messy world with grace and peace. God loves the journey. Humans love the outcome. But God loves the process. Every day, Jesus is teaching us to follow Him in and through the mess, to be His hands and feet in the world. Sure, we are messy. Yet, God has chosen to display His attributes through His people as they walk through this world in grace and peace. This is a journey that begins on the day of conversion and continues until God calls us home.
Step 4 – Sing the Psalm of Love
We sing the psalm of love as we journey through this messy life. The Bible places a priority on love. Not the mushy, situational and selfish love of our culture. But the self-sacrificial and outrageous love of God displayed in Christ, a love that God shares with us by His Spirit. God desires us to live His love out loud in bold and vibrant colors. Our life becomes His song. It’s God’s amazing love that changes us, and it’s through God’s amazing love that the world is transformed through us. Lives displaying Jesus’ love are needed more than ever in our messy world. This is the journey God has us on. So let’s enjoy the ride!