Most of us, by the time we're wise enough to conceptualize our world, already have a broken way of looking at it. We have been raised with certain questions, certain hesitations, certain wonderings that often are left unanswered by what our growing minds can comprehend at precisely the time when the answers are most important. As we get older, it's harder and harder to change these defaults, harder to learn to a new way to think.
Those who have grown up in fear operate on fear, maybe forever. There comes a point when a person who has grown up in fear realizes that perhaps, for the first time, he is no longer afraid. The very thought scares him. And this is of great comfort to the fearful man, for he finds that even in the absence of his fear, he is still afraid.
Those who have grown up in doubt operate on doubt, maybe forever. The day comes when a person who has spent his whole life doubting finally becomes certain about one thing or another. In that very breath, he wonders how he could ever really know. He doubts his own certainty, and this is of great comfort to the doubtful man, for he finds that even in the knowing, there is room for doubt.
Those who have grown up in worry worry when they find they have nothing to worry about! Those who have grown up in anger are mad when things are going well. Those who have grown up in need cannot stop the ache of emptiness even when they are satisfied.
It's troubling. It's troubling for the fearful man to realize he cannot escape his fear, for the doubtful man to be captive to his doubts. It's troubling when a man looks in the mirror and knows he does not have to be such a way but finds he cannot help himself. Because it feels like so much a part of him to worry, or to doubt, or to fear. It feels like so much a part of him to be angry or to be empty.
Who is he if the world does not demand this of him?
It's not so easy as simply saying that in God, man is a new creation and that if he can find himself in God, he can truly find himself and let go of his need to be the man he's always been. If it were so easy, more men would do it. If...but it's not.
But there is a way. There is a way for a man to begin to find himself. It's in 1 Corinthians 10:31 and again in Colossians 3:17 - Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. and Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Whatever you do, whatever it is that thing that you do, that thing that you can't let go of, do it for the glory of God.
The fearful man must learn to fear for the glory of God. So much worship, so much praise, so much devotion begins in the fear of the Lord. He's already good at fear; now, he must turn that fear toward the holy and for the glory of God, become a man who lives not simply in fear, but in the fear of the Lord. Which is not really fear like we know it; it's not the same as the things that go bump in the night. It is a reverence. Turning his fear for the glory of God, the fearful man finds himself not afraid but amazed.
The doubtful man must harbor his doubts in a holy direction. He must look at the goodness of God and constantly wonder, how can it be? He must live in awe every moment that again and again, God is proven true. There's nothing unholy in the questions, and the doubtful man knows well how to question. The more he comes questioning to God, the more God has the chance to show Himself true. The more God shows Himself true, the more reason the doubtful man has to believe. Whether he can or not is another question, but if he continues to bring his doubts in a godly direction, he will live his life in the evidence of the goodness of God.
The worrying man must worry in the name of the Lord Jesus. He must be concerned about the same things that God is concerned about. He must spend his time troubled by the broken state of this world, worried about the state of the unredeemed man. Which may include himself from time to time. This worry draws him close to the heart of God as they share in one broken-heartedness. The angry man must turn his anger toward those things that anger God. There's plenty to be angry about in a fallen world; he must simply understand how to channel his anger for glory. Then he becomes a mighty warrior for God, a messenger of righteousness, an agent of reconciliation. He goes about making right for wrong because he cannot stand for the torments of this world. The needful man turns his need toward God and never forgets his emptiness in this here-and-now. He's thirsty for the Lord, even when he seems to be satisfied. His hunger for more holy never goes away, and his very need draws him to the feet of the Lord in worship and in humility and in thirst.
It's easy to think if we want to be God's, we must shake off these broken things. That there's not a way for the fearful man to be holy, for the doubter to believe, for the angry man to be righteous. We think these are the kinds of things that will keep us forever from the heart of God. But that's just not the truth. These things, the things that we just can't shake, are the very things that draw us closer to Him. If only we turn them to His glory.
It is here that the work of God begins in us and begins to strip these broken things away from us. Only by the grace of God does a fearful man feel safe. Only by the grace of God does the doubter know. Only by the grace of God does the worrier find comfort, the angry man find peace, the empty man find fullness. Only by the grace of God.
So it's not that we must shake these things off before coming to Him. That's not it at all. (And anyone who has tried has probably spent his life trying and can tell you it doesn't work anyway.) It is that we turn our broken things toward Him. In doing so, we draw just near enough that He can heal them. And in that healing, closer still.
Do you live a life of fear? Of doubt? Worry? Anger? Do you live a life of need? Something else? Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. And He will pour His glory into you and redeem your broken man.