Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Living relaxed in God's grace

I am not perfect.  I know this comes as a shock to so many of you (haha) but let me tell you - my "perfection-meter" is well below the halfway point.  I try.  I try really hard.  I'm careful to treat people with respect and kindness whenever I can but even being careful I fail.  I attempt to make moral decisions and I fail.  I attempt to do what I know God expects of me but sometimes that darn sin sneaks in.  I lust, I stretch the truth, I covet, I act with disrespect, I use unwholesome talk - the list is long.  The great thing though is that I firmly believe perfection isn't the goal but rather the striving for perfection is the goal.  We are going to screw it all up on occasion even when we try our hardest not to.  That's where grace comes into our lives.

My devotional today hit this square on.  I don't want to get to a point where I am too reliant on grace.  We can't forget we are called to live like Christ and to be making steps to that ultimate goal but I know I haven't been perfected yet.  I'm still very much a work in progress.

"As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13-14 GN)

God understands you completely. He's fully aware of your humanity. He knows your faults, fears, failures, and frustrations. He doesn't expect you to be Superman or Superwoman.

If you’re a parent, do you love your children at every stage of their development, or are you waiting until they're mature to love them?

The point is, God loves you at every stage of your development, so you don't have to have unresolved guilt and unrealistic expectations. Listen:

There is nothing you will ever do that will make God love you more than he does right now.

There is nothing you will ever do that will make God love you less than he does right now.

God’s love is unconditional. It's not based on what you do or don't do.

I like to think of it like this: I have three kids. All of them had to learn to walk, and all three of them went through the same process: They'd take a step; they'd stumble. They’d get up, take two steps, then stumble. They’d get up and take a couple steps and fall again.

As their father, what was my reaction? Did I scold them? "What are you doing stumbling? You're a Warren. Warrens don't stumble! You can do better than that." Of course not! How silly! But a lot of us think that's how God treats us. We think that every time we stumble, God says, “Get up! What are you doing, you dummy?”

The Bible teaches us that, “There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 TEV). What does that mean? Let's say I take a card and write every single thing I've ever done wrong on it — all my sins, faults, mistakes, all the skeletons in my closet, all the shameful acts and thoughts and memories and temptations. Then I put the card in a book and close it. You can’t see the card anymore; you can only see the book. That’s the way God sees us when Jesus is in our lives. He no longer sees our sin; he sees Jesus at work in our lives.

When you come to Christ and say, “God, here’s my life. Everything I’ve ever done wrong, every time I've ever made a mistake, all those stupid things I've done. I want to put my life in Jesus Christ,” Jesus wraps you with his love. God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; he doesn't see your sin. That's what it means to relax in God's grace.
The most comforting news I have heard today is right there at the end: "Jesus wraps you with his love.  God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; he doesn't see your sin.  That's what it means to relax in God's grace." How wonderful to be wrapped in the love of Jesus.

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