Fort Mill Times

Seeking, finding redemption

The Rev. Jonathan Riddle is Pastor of SouthPoint Church in Fort Mill.
The Rev. Jonathan Riddle is Pastor of SouthPoint Church in Fort Mill.

"People often ask if I'm still a Christian; I am still a Christian, as I have been all my life. Beyond that, I get compli-cated."

These are the words of the immortal musical legend Johnny Cash. I just recently read his autobiography, an incredible story of loneliness, sin, sorrow and redemption. I've grown to love his raw and honest admissions of his life and his long and arduous trip back to God. Like so many people it's easy to identify with someone who just admits that they've screwed up their life and are asking God to redeem it.

In the very beginning of The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us keys on a way to get back to God. In what many Bibles call the beatitudes is really a prescription given by Jesus to find our way back to God when we've lost our way. The first is to know that we need God that we are beyond ourselves and are unable to live a life of fullness apart from Him. So when Jesus says, "Blessed are those who are poor in spirit", these are people who realize that if they do not have God in their lives on a daily basis, it's a matter of time before things begin to fall apart. Even though we live in a culture where we have everything, we're never satisfied.

No matter how much money we possess, the wonderful friendships make, the great work environment we have, if we attain what the entire world deems successful, why at the end of the day do we feel like we need more? It goes to heart of who we are, we're built to live a life with God, and outside of that we begin to break down. And Jesus says "If you do not have me I don't care how much you possess you'll always be poor."

The key is to recognize it. Most of us admit that there's something missing in our lives, the problem is in the fact that we think we can fill that void with something outside of God when in reality we cannot.

So what do we do? We know we need God, we know we can't find true fulfillment apart from Him, so what do we do next? Jesus says, "Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted." Now this may seem cryptic, how can someone feel blessed if they're mourning?

Jesus is talking about a different kind of mourning. What Jesus is speaking too is about life in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is talking to us about mourning over our own sin, mourning over our own faults. That we've come to the realization that we've gone astray from what God planned for our lives. When you mourn over your own sin, you are intently sorry for you own misdoings. Not sorry that somebody has seen you, not sorry from self pity. But sorrow to the point that you're willing to change the direction of your life, you're willing to change the way you live, the way you treat God and others.

"Lord, I am so sorry for the things I have done and the things I haven't done."

No matter where you find yourself in life, God is always waiting to redeem it, just ask Him for help and confess to Him where you've fallen short. Your life will be changed, just what Jesus intended.