Life has a way of becoming a tangled mess. All it takes is alarming health issues, job-related stress, parenting uncertainties, an emotional breakdown, and more. What if the mess of your life is where God is about to do his best work?
Bible Gateway interviewed Luke Lezon (@lukelezon) about his book, Your Mess Matters: Trusting the God Who Creates from Dust and Redeems by Blood (Zondervan, 2019).
Explain the debilitating illness you experienced and how you use it to illustrate your book’s message.
Luke Lezon: What I actually ended up having was essentially a double infection. I had a parasite that we couldn’t diagnose, and by the time we found out I had a parasite, I ended up contracting C-Diff because of how powerful the antibiotics were. It took six months to find all of this out. I use it more to open the book and invite people into my mess than I use it to illustrate the message. So often I read a book and the author sounds like a hero or an unattainable titan in the faith. I want people to feel my pain and allow me to journey with them in theirs through this book. The message is Jesus, and my biggest prayer is that people would feel his presence in their mess and even find themselves praising, resting in Romans 5:1-5. They’re not alone.
In what way does a person’s mess matter, according to your book’s title?
Luke Lezon: It matters to God. There’s a cultural lie—I think even a train of thought within the church—that says messes in our lives are a result of our own righteousness or lack there of, when really it’s because of the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
What do you mean when you write, “In our quest for clarity, we are missing out on something so much greater—peace”?
Luke Lezon: First Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” I’ve found most people to be frustrated that their life doesn’t have clear direction or they don’t see where they’re headed. But even in the confusion that the messiness of life presents to us, Scripture proclaims something better than clarity in our confusion: it says God is a God of peace, not clarity. I think the antidote to confusion isn’t clarity, it’s peace. Better than the clarity of knowing where your path leads is the peace of knowing that God is with you every step of the journey, no matter where or what.
What have you found to be the Bible’s theme regarding struggles and sufferings?
Luke Lezon: Purpose. I look at the lives of the disciples: how they struggled, suffered, were martyred. But the faith spread like wildfire as a result of that. I don’t think anyone looking for a pain-free, struggle-free life should expect the Bible to promise them those things that they won’t experience on this side of Heaven. Second Corinthians 4:18-20 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” One of the great comforts of walking with Jesus is not that we’ll be exempt from the tests and trials of the life, but that we aren’t alone in them.
How is pain an unexpected gift?
Luke Lezon: Pain, we know, is a gift, physically. We touch a hot stove and quickly retract our hand, otherwise we’d severely burn ourselves. It alerts us to danger and keeps us safe in many ways. Pain in the spiritual sense is a gift as well—I would submit—because it strengthens us in our own faith; it helps strengthen other’s faith as well, as 2 Corinthians 1:3-8 says. More than that? It pushes us deeper into relationship with him. My deepest dependence on God has come through some of the most distressing moments of my life. Enjoyable? No. Beneficial? In many ways.
Why is apathy so dangerous?
Luke Lezon: Apathy is like carbon monoxide: it just sneaks up on us and chokes the hope and joy right out of us until we’re limp. I can handle people’s anger and fear a lot better than I can handle their apathetic mindset when it comes to their relationship with God. Anger and fear are strong emotions and it shows that people care deeply about their faith; even if they have things to work through. Apathy is different. It makes people indifferent, and where people are indifferent, we struggle to get them involved again. Revelation 3:16 speaks to the Lord’s detesting of lukewarm, apathetic faith.
Find more encouragement to trust God in hardship through our daily devotional, 'Standing Strong Through the Storm.'
How is comparison the thief of joy?
Luke Lezon: It minimizes the blessings and maximizes the messes in our lives while simultaneously maximizing the blessings and minimizing the messes in other people’s lives. I think I could make the case that in Genesis 3:5, Adam and Eve are tricked not only into self-centered prideful sin, but into comparing where they are with where they could be when Satan says, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” It completely wipes our mind of God’s purpose and plan for our lives and keeps us from celebrating how he’s using others alongside us to move his kingdom forward. It ultimately comes down to hating to see someone else’s influence grow for the sake of the kingdom because we want our influence to grow for the sake of our kingdom. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make ours burn any brighter, though.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Luke Lezon: Hebrews 12. There’s something about coming off the heels of the great cloud of witnesses, understanding their highs and lows, to then jump right into God’s position in our lives as Father and how his love and discipline go hand-in-hand. I find a surprising amount of comfort in that.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Luke Lezon: I always have Bible Gateway open on my computer as I’m writing sermons. If I have a tab open, your best guess is that Bible Gateway is in the search bar.
Your Mess Matters is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Luke Lezon grew up in Dallas, Texas, before graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in Communication, minoring in Creative Studies. After graduating, Luke married his beautiful wife, Lindsey, and co-planted Hill City Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After pastoring at Hill City for two years, Luke and his wife moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where they previously helped lead The Alternative and currently lead The Invitation. Luke is a creative, dynamic preacher and teacher of God’s Word with a palpable love for people. His sermons and writings have been shared thousands of times across many different platforms. Luke is a coffee connoisseur, sports, and film fanatic, and fur-parent to he and his wife’s favorite and only child, Knox. Above all, he is passionate about seeing others come to know Jesus and make him known.
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