Life At Its Best: God loves us no matter what
We all have great potential, but sometimes, we have trouble believing it. Oftentimes, we think our mistakes disqualify us from receiving God's best. We either convince ourselves or become convinced by others that we can never be good enough.
I recognized this mentality in my son, Michael, when he was only 3 years old. He had just started his new Sunday school class, and his first five weeks were a complete disaster. Every week, I got reports that he was hitting and biting other kids.
Finally, after week No. six, I sat him down and asked, "Mike, what's up? Why do you keep getting in trouble?" Almost instantly, tears began to stream down his face. In total sincerity, he said, "Dad, I don't know. I just can't be good."
It touched my heart as his dad, because I knew exactly what he was feeling. I'd been there before, and you probably have too. Most of us have. Most of us have felt like, no matter how hard we try, we just can't "be good." We get overwhelmed trying to follow all the rules. But experiencing God's best isn't about simply following rules or doing good things. The truth is, none of us can do right all of the time. That's why Jesus came.
Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
God isn't looking for perfection. He knows we all miss the mark sometimes, but he doesn't want us to live in condemnation because of it. Instead, he wants us to experience his unfailing love and forgiveness. Then, he wants us to be open to allow him to change the heart and habits we live with.
The apostle Paul understood this well. He spent the first half of his life trying to follow and enforce religious rules. But one day, he had an encounter with God that changed his whole perspective. God showed him that He didn't have to live under the pressure and guilt of the law. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, He was free from the condemnation of sin.
The same is true for us. Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." The price for our sin has already been paid. Christ bore our burden and pain, so we wouldn't have to. We can live in the freedom of his sacrifice. But just as we are called to live in that freedom, we are also called to a life of godliness.
Godliness is more than simply living with right principles or modifying our behavior. It's allowing God to totally change our heart. If we'll develop a genuine love for his ways, his goodness will begin to penetrate every area of our lives.
So today, I encourage you to embrace the freedom you have in Christ. Then, allow him to change your heart as you fall in love with his ways. Remember, his goodness is more than enough.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com