Cling. Especially in Western culture, we view “cling” as such a weak word, by just saying the word, I can feel the disdain and judgment rolling off the tip of my tongue — it automatically evokes thoughts of dependence, neediness, powerlessness, greediness, chains, confinement.
However, this year/semester God has been steadfastly revealing to me that clinging to Him does not mean that I am weak, but that I am empowered to walk through this world with confidence. He has challenged me to truly lay down my life, to pick up my cross daily, and to learn what it means to be a slave to Christ. I learn more and more each day that I am so utterly broken, yet He fills me with such joy because He reminds me that I have the opportunity to lay my old life to death, and invite His spirit to fill my heart of hearts. Again, the word slave evokes feelings of evil and fear, as it should when we think about being slaves to the evils of this world. But when we are slaves to Christ who is perfect, merciful, generous, and just — we are free.
Let me be clear: this is not to say that living in this world becomes easy, nor does it mean that we are free from the consequences that accompany acting in sin.
However, when we give our lives to Christ, we are free from the guilt and shame of our constant brokenness because at the foot of the cross, of His sacrifice, we are able to trade these ashes for His beauty. And when we begin to understand the weight of the Gospel, He manifests in us a love and a desire that allows us to cling to His love and His wisdom.
cling to Love
I entered this year under the impression that I would find strong relationships that would last a lifetime; I especially believed that finding these relationships would be easy in the church. I built expectations that were too high for anyone in this world to fulfill. The cornerstones of my relationships were pride and the delusional assumption that my own capacity to love could somehow cover my own faults, as well as the faults of those around me. Building my relationships on such weak foundations, I quickly began to find it hard to love people, and let my heart harden in bitterness.
“Yeah church is a family, but it’s a family we have to fight for.” -Michelle Park
Through accountability, the Lord has revealed to me the power of relationships that are built upon the foundation of the Gospel. With a relationship that was first built on pride and a selfish desire to be loved, God has healed and humbled. He has dared me to love others (not even just other Christians, but everyone around me) with a love that is greater than my own inconsistent and weak capability, with a love that is made possible by His own perfect capacity to love us despite how broken we are. When we steep in the realization of the extent of His love for us, we begin to be able to love each other at a level that is deeper than common interest, but a level of understanding that we are grounded in a love that is stronger than our own — a love that carries us into eternity.
cling to Wisdom
A foundational theme of my entire life has been seeking wisdom — the wisdom of this world. I ached to be affirmed by my knowledge; I needed to be the smartest, the most accomplished person I could be.
“What do you think it means to fear God?” — Claire Lee
This was one of the first questions my discipler asked me. At first, I drew upon my worldly understanding of the word fear. However, as we began to read Proverbs together, God reminded me of how utterly foolish I am.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” –Proverbs 9:10 (ESV).
While I spent my entire life chasing wisdom, God challenged me this semester to question for the first time ever what wisdom was. Like He tells us in Proverbs, wisdom begins with fear of the Lord. Wisdom begins with the understanding that the scope of our understanding is so indescribably minuscule in comparison to His. Wisdom begins with the understanding of His sovereignty over our lives. So often, we walk this world either filled with pride or shame at our knowledge, or lack thereof. When we plan our futures, we become so preoccupied with what job we want, what clubs we want to participate in, it becomes a cycle of I, me, I, me, my, my goals, my dreams, my plans. I fall into this trap daily. I become consumed by the fear that I will not accomplish what I want to do. We forget that God gives us direct means to seek counsel and seek His perfect wisdom — prayer and the Word. I have been challenged to seek His counsel and His wisdom instead of my own. When we cling to His wisdom, we begin to lose fear of our own inadequacies.
This isn’t to say that we should lose motivation to learn or to grow.
Instead we are inspired to glorify Him in everything we do, understanding that He provides us with wisdom and strength that cultivates our desire to honor Him. When we rely on our own wisdom, we allow ourselves to become lazy and lukewarm in our actions and our words, but when we rely on and understand the extent of God’s wisdom, we are even moreso motivated to grow.
Yes, clinging to things of this world means being powerless — it means brokenness, evil, and disappointment; those are the only things that this world can promise us. But this year, God has challenged me to discover what it truly means to cling to Him, cling to His love, and cling to His wisdom. And while we, myself included, continue to fail to do these things daily, we are able to live confidently. We are cared for by someone who will never forsake us; we are promised an eternity and an inheritance that is worth more than this world — and this year, I have begun to discover, for the first time, what it means to cling.
So my beloved, the next time you think of “cling” as a weak word, think about who or what you’re clinging to — and understand that it is when we cling to God that we are the most free.