I've always had this weird way of thinking … in that for most of my life I thought that I had to be doing everything right in order to have a relationship with God. And if I wasn’t being perfect, I would walk away from Him… until something tragic would happen and I’d promise to try and be perfect for Him if he’d intervene.
And if you’ve listened to any of my podcast episodes, you know I’m going to just call that whole silly thought another lie from the enemy.
I guess I always just found it hard to comprehend that God could love me despite my behavior. Yet, that is the furthest thing from the truth... and I want you to know that today, especially if you are anything like I was believing that behavior is what earned our affection from God.
Here’s the thing… first, God knows that no one is perfect. It says so right in the Bible. Romans 3:10 says "there is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:23 … we’ve all sinned and come short of the glory of God… meaning none of us are even close to the perfection that God is Himself. Secondly, if you’re a mom.. or a dad.. listening in right now.. think about your child or children. When they behave like little gremlins, throw fits, get mad at you, act out… do you love them less or stop accepting them in your arms. I doubt it. I know there is nothing that my son can do to make me love him less. I may get disappointed or frustrated with him in my fallen state… especially since he’s in those preteen years, but my love is no less and when he says I’m sorry I melt and hold him.
But God’s love for us is even greater than our love for our children even though I can’t begin to comprehend that. God might discipline us, but it’s just like a parent disciplines their child out of love so that bad things won’t happen to their child or so their child won’t grow up to be selfish or naïve.
The enemy likes to tell us that we can’t be close to God because of our sinfulness. Yes our sin can separate us from God if we CHOOSE to let it by living in it consistently which is the enemy’s goal. However, He’s not the one who walks away from us. We choose. So don’t let your mistakes and your failures cause you to walk away like I have so so many times in the past. Even when I think or say things I shouldn’t, I tell God, I’m not walking away this time. I know you’re here, I know you are my help, and that you love me more than I can comprehend. And I keep on going. I keep praying, I keep showing up for my devotionals and time spent with him.
His love for us is unconditional and radical and relentless. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t give up on us no matter how far we’ve gone. And today I want you to know that no matter what you’ve done, no matter how far away from God you feel, He’s lovingly and patiently waiting for your return. There is no fear is his perfect love. And in returning to him in faith, He will embrace you and refresh you. Think of how patient and loving he was towards the Israelites, his chosen people, when they constantly forsook him and worshipped other Gods. He disciplined them no doubt, but he never stopped loving them or watching over them. And each time they returned to him he blessed them. And all of us today have that same promise of his love and mercy. God doesn’t change no matter how much this world changes.
So today, I challenge you, if it’s been a while since you talked to God or read His word, take a moment.. it doesn’t have to be an hour, just take a moment while you’re driving, or walking, or relaxing to acknowledge Him. Ask Him to show you His love for you and tell Him your worries and fears. He wants to be intimate with you and He wants you to believe Him. Not too much to ask. He’s not asking that we be perfect, he’s asking us to find rest in him and once you’ve developed that relationship with Him, he wants you to grow and mature, just like we do as parents. We don’t want our kids to be 30 years old living in our basement with no job right? So just start small today and maybe for the next few weeks by taking a few minutes to talk to him and pick out a chapter of the Bible to read over and over. And then ask God to teach you some things. Don’t expect perfection out of yourself if God doesn’t.
Just work a little each day to progress, mature, and grow your faith. His love and grace is a gift, you don’t have to earn it. That’s what faith is; believing that Christ covers our flaws and we are seen as righteous in God’s eyes by that faith.
I hope this encourages some of you perfectionists out there. I know personally that it’s hard to accept God’s gift and it still FEELS like we have to earn it. But if we believe God’s word then we have to believe that we aren’t SAVED by our works, though salvation should bring about a change that results in those good works. So don’t try to earn salvation by your works and deeds, but do those good works in order to love God back for saving you.
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Until next week!