Life At Its Best: Don't need to earn God's love, he just does
By Jim Graff
April 26, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 25, 2013 at 11:26 p.m.
There's nothing like God's love. Even when we fail, it remains unfailing. Only through it can we live our best life and accomplish the purpose God has for us.
I had a friend who grew up hearing that God's love had to be earned. As a teenager, he made bad choices that led him down wrong paths. His awareness of God's truth coupled with shame from his past sent him on a guilt trip. He felt he'd made too many mistakes to fulfill God's plan for His life.
One day, while at the beach, he got discouraged and began writing all his mistakes in the sand. He started thinking about what his life could've been had he not made them.
As he was writing, waves crashed onto the shore. Everything he'd written got erased. In that moment, God spoke to his heart and said, "This is what I can do with your life." How powerful; God can wash away all of our sins if we will let Him.
Like my friend, we all are tempted to meditate on our mistakes. We convince ourselves that because of wrong decisions, we can no longer accomplish God's plan for our lives.
But God's grace is given to erase our guilt. Our realization of His incredible love is to change the way we view our lives, and our submission to His leadership is to put us back on track to fulfill His plan for our lives.
Peter is a great example of someone who fulfilled his purpose after failure. His failure was most likely worse than any you've committed - he denied Jesus. He abandoned Him as He was being beaten for our sins.
After Jesus was crucified, Peter lived in the guilt of that decision. He didn't feel worthy of fulfilling his calling as a disciple, so he went back to his day job: fishing.
One day, after Jesus had risen, Peter was out in his boat. He'd been fishing for hours but hadn't caught a thing. Jesus asked, "My friend, haven't you any fish?"
Notice, even when Peter was at his worst, Jesus still called him friend. He does the same for us. Jesus doesn't want us to distance ourselves when we've messed up. His affection doesn't change based on our performance.
Peter replied that he hadn't caught anything, so Jesus instructed him to throw his net on the other side. When he did, he caught so many fish that his nets were tearing. Jesus then said, "Follow me, and I'll make you a fisher of men."
Peter still had his purpose. And He fulfilled it. But in order for him to do so, he had to respond both to God's love and to His leadership.
The same truth applies to us. In order to live our purpose after failure, we must first recognize that His love is greater than faults.
Then we must choose to value His standards above our own, aligning our daily decisions with His word. No matter what, you still have your purpose. So don't let failure keep you down.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com