Thoughts… Are you as guilty as I am in trying to get God to like you more? Even though I have been a Christ follower most of my life and have come to increasingly appreciate the grace of God as I get older, I still find myself steering back into the same ol’ ditch of human effort to gain favor with God.
If I don’t feel good about some ministry effort, I’ll redouble my energy on the next activity. If I preach a dull sermon, I’ll work myself silly so the next one will be on the same level as the Sermon on the Mount—although that never seems to work. If I fall into a sin that I’ve promised to never do again, I find myself thinking of how I can make up for it—something akin to Protestant penance. If I am feeling unsuccessful, I will unleash a torrent of good-sounding activity to compensate for my lack.
Sounds pretty goofed up doesn’t it? Well not so fast! I’ll bet you do the same thing.
Here’s the deal: No matter what you do, you cannot get God to like you any more than he already does. In fact, Romans 5:8 says he loves you so much that even when you were still in sin, he sent his Son to die for you. That’s how much he likes you! Zechariah 2:8 declares you to be the apple of God’s eye—don’t ever forget that!
So if you’re a Christ follower, relax! Chill out. You’re in. You’re on your way to heaven. You’ve got the Holy Spirit living within you. You are saved, forgiven, empowered, and favored by God. Reframe your thinking: Instead of focusing on your shortcomings, focus on God’s sufficiency. That’s what you’re depending on anyway. God loves you, warts and all. Allow him to work on your warts, but enjoy his unconditional love—it will change your life.
Prayer… God, your grace is more than enough for me. It is greater than all my sins, and sufficient to compensate for all my shortcomings. As Thomas A. Kempis said, “He rides pleasantly enough whom the grace of God carries,” so your grace is carrying me, and it will carry me right into your eternal arms at the end of my days. For that I thank you.
One More Thing… “Free grace can go into the gutter, and bring up a jewel!” — Charles Spurgeon