Liz Hulley writes —

Last week I commented on the idea of feeling “messed up” or “ruined” for God. The problem with this concept is that if taken the wrong way it implies that we should shun the ordinary moments in life and/or the people who don’t feel “messed up.”

You know, I used to feel very awkward giving my “testimony” because I felt that in order to have a great story, one had to have been living a life of tragedy or great sin in order to really experience deliverance.  And now I realize that I need not feel anything but awe and thankfulness for having received the Gospel when I was young. There would be plenty of moments for the supernatural later on.

When we come across these ambiguous Christian terms, it’s always a good idea to return to the Bible. When we are always talking about divine appointments, spiritual attacks, hating the sin but loving the sinner, God being awesome, etc., it is easy to become lost in ambiguity.

I think it is a great skill to be able to present God’s Word in a systematic way that is understandable to everyone. On the other hand, let’s not oversimplify. A lot of times we create oversimplified catch-phrases where we could quote Scripture instead.

So what does it mean to be ruined for the ordinary; or “messed up” for the sake of God’s kingdom?

In a general sense, it is all a part of the death of our sinful nature. But for some reason we feel the pain more sharply at certain times.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. -Matthew 16: 24, 25

We are “ruined” in an intellectual sense because we are no longer satisfied with human wisdom.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! -Romans 11:33

We are “ruined” in an emotional sense as we take on new cares. Paul writes a lot about this.

For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. -2 Corinthians 2:4

We are saved in a spiritual sense, but will continually be tested.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. -2 Corinthians 12:7

And the revelation may come at different moments for some, but we will all face the feeling of being an empty vessel-on the one hand empty and useless, while at the same time ready to be an instrument.