“Lord you take me as I am“As I Am” (by Hillsong Young & Free)
Over and over you call me yours again
You see it all still you want me
How you love me
How you love me”
These are the lyrics of a song that I hold close to my heart, simply because of the undeniable truth the words possess: The Lord takes me as I am, over and over, without fail. He sees every ugly part of me, yet still wants me. He loves me no matter what.
I’m sure for all of us, this is difficult to fathom because, in our human nature, we often base love on how people treat us. In our world, showing love is contingent on receiving it. But that is not the way of God, and as you begin your relationship with him it is important that you understand that. God’s love for us is expressed in Matthew 9:13 which says: “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (NIV). As you continue, allow this verse to resonate within your heart and mind and let it be a guide in understanding the message that follows.
Preparation for major events in our lives is important. We find comfort in knowing that we’re well prepared, especially when the outcome has such a significant impact on our future. Knowing what lies ahead and being ready for it is such a great feeling. But there are some things in life that you can’t prepare for. That’s scary to think about, isn’t it? Well, it can be, but I believe there is often beauty in the unknown and walking with Jesus has been just that for me.
Beginning a relationship with God is a big step in your life. Choosing to tell Jesus “yes” changes your life forever. Because of this, it can be easy to feel like you’re not prepared. I’m here to let you know that walking with the Lord isn’t a journey that requires any special preparation—or any preparation at all. You can’t prepare for it, because there isn’t anything you can do or change about yourself that would earn you a spot in God’s heart.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NIV). Jesus willingly came to save you knowing that you are a sinner. This is the perfect love that he still has for you today. A walk with Christ doesn’t come with any prerequisites; he doesn’t expect you to bring a perfect version of yourself. All he asks for is your heart. All that is needed is you.
As you step into your journey with Jesus, I want to encourage you to:
1. Come As You Are
Your Father doesn’t expect you to be perfect in order to start your walk with him. He is a God of pure love, a truly unconditional love that you and I can’t even begin to comprehend. He is a God of abounding grace and limitless mercy who loves you in spite of your flaws, and he is calling you, his child, to walk closely with him. He wants you, your heart, and all of the flaws that come with it. Because of his unfathomable love for you, he made it possible for you to come to him just as you are. In the bible, there are many stories that exemplify this perfect love. One example is when we see Jesus and his disciples sharing a meal with sinners and tax collectors during the calling of Matthew in Matthew 9:10.
2. Surrender Your Flaws to Him
Even more amazing? When we surrender our flaws to him, he starts to transform us from the inside out. I remember scrolling past a post one day that read, “God loves you just the way you are, but too much to leave you that way.” This stuck with me since then and it’s one of the truths that I reflect on from time to time. Starting a relationship with God means so much more for us than we deserve. It means we have the opportunity to experience true freedom: freedom from the guilt weighing on us from our past mistakes, freedom from the heavy burdens we carry each day, and freedom from the chains of sin that hold us hostage from the life the Father intended for us to live. God is inviting you to lay down all of your flaws at his feet and open up your heart, mind, and soul to allow his power to be at work in your life. He wants to transform you by gracefully molding you into the person he created you to be and making you more like him. When beginning your walk with him, the Lord wants you to surrender everything that you are carrying with you. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest ” (NLT).
3. Trust Him
When I began my walk with Jesus at the age of 15, I was unsure of what was ahead and what my next steps would be. I vividly remember the moment I chose to give my heart to the Lord, thinking, Where do I go from here? As I’ve grown in my relationship with God, I’ve come to realize that there isn’t any agenda or specific guidelines we should follow when starting to walk with him. Each of our journeys is unique and as we go to follow him all we need to do is place our trust in him. Trust him to guide you along the path he’s led you to. He wouldn’t bring you there only to leave you and get through on your own. Allow him to take your hand and show you your next steps. Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you” (NLT).
4. Remain Strong in His Foundation
The moment I turned my heart over to Jesus, I remember thinking about what others would think of me. I felt like I had done something so bold. I felt like I was deviating from the norm, and I was. Because of this, a part of me feared what others might think. If you feel that way, trust me, you are not alone. It isn’t easy to step out in bold faith and do something that not everyone else is doing. Walking with the Lord isn’t easy, but it is definitely worth it. I’ve come to learn that there will be people who make fun of you or try to make you feel silly for stepping out in your faith. When this happens, remember the numerous examples of people in the Bible who were mocked because of their faith in Christ. In Matthew 5:10, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (NIV). Remain strong in your identity in Christ and rely on his faithfulness to bring you through and to overcome the pressures that surround you.
Though persecution may come, be encouraged that God promises to never leave us during difficult times. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV). In your pursuit of God, he will also surround you with Christian community who will encourage you and help you along your journey. We were never designed to go through life alone. We were created to be in fellowship with one another in the likeness of God. First Corinthians 12:12 says, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (NIV). Allow the Lord to guide your path so that you may be connected with others who also have a heart for him and are living to serve him.
God is merciful and faithful, and he is enough to sustain you. Be encouraged to commit your life to him today and to be bold in your pursuit. Open the door of your heart, he is waiting for you.
- What is it that you are holding onto that is stopping you from turning over your heart to God today? What do you need to surrender? Ask him to reveal these things to you and show you how to lay them down at his feet.
- Do you really know how much God loves you? God’s Word is saturated with truths that he gave us so we can get to know him better. It contains an overwhelming amount of evidence of his love for you and me. Reflect on these truths and pray that God helps you to gain a better understanding of his love for you. Some Scripture readings that I recommend are:
- Romans 8:37-39
- Ephesians 4-5
- John 15:13
- Lamentations 3:22-23
- How has God revealed his love for you? Reflect on this and write down everything that comes to mind. Pray to God and give him thanks for all the things he has done in your life.
Father, you know me, and you love me. Thank you that you remain the same and that your love for me is unchanging. No matter what I have done in my past, or what mistakes I will make in the future, you will still love me. I don’t have to be perfect for you. Thank you for your unconditional love and limitless mercy. Thank you that I can come to you today with all my flaws and be fully accepted into your kingdom. I ask that you show me how I can lay down everything that I am carrying at your feet. Thank you that I can trust you with everything in me. You are so good and faithful. Amen.
Photo credit: Michael Marcagi
Sharyn is a student from the Bahamas and is currently enrolled in University. She loves to share the Word of God and aspires to influence adolescents in their journey to Christ. She serves as a counselor at Camp Bahamas Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inspiring and leading young Bahamians in their pursuit of Christ.