Everywhere I turn it’s a comparison trap, its do this, do that, thou shall not, and thou shall. The more I look at myself the more I see how bad I am. Each layer of my private life is another lifeless pit just seeking acceptance. When I see how well other people are doing I want to hide. It feels like an endless road that I can’t get off. I want to be as good as everyone in my church but it’s just not working. Maybe if I go on one of those mission trips? Maybe I just need another camp? Yeah maybe… Is this really what God wants? Is this really the way it’s supposed to be. It feels like the more good I do the more God likes me and the more room for error I have. Shouldn’t my relationship with Christ make me happy? Why do I feel so much guilt and shame? This can’t be what Christ wanted. Why follow rules when I know I can’t even come close to obedience? This can’t be what Jesus died for. If this is the truth then what’s the point?
This was a painful reality in my life and was my actual thoughts before a huge awakening. Now don’t get me wrong; I was all for the whole Jesus thing, I wanted it, but I was growing tired of being compared to others and trying to be perfect. Tired of living up to impossible standards. Consequently, I think these are the real reasons why people give up on Christianity. Not theory of sciences, not pure hatred of God, but a misunderstanding of who Jesus was.
When this thinking changed, I was opened to a new reality, a new reality of grace, a new reality of love, a new reality of acceptance, we aren’t tolerated by God, he wants us. Now I knew about grace, but I didn’t believe it; I thought I did but it was just too good to be true, it wasn’t logical. Why would someone die for someone else without expecting something in return, but now I see that’s the beauty of it; it’s not logical because it’s unlike anything else, it’s beyond comprehension. The beauty of it all is that I can be who I am because Jesus says I am a new creation, not just some kid who needs to straighten up and get serious about my sin.
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love”
When I stopped focusing on how much I sin and started focusing on how much God loves me; everything changed. God loves us when we don’t even love him, he loves us when we break every rule and law he ever said, and that’s the beauty of it.
Just look at the story of the prodigals son (Luke 15:11-32), he ran off to pursue the riches of the world, and long story short he ended up in a dark place, realized his mistakes, and wanted to come home. I’m sure the whole way home he was running his story through his head, all the prodigals son wanted was to just work for his dad and fly under the radar, but that’s not how grace works, In fact when he returned his father was so overcome with joy he ran to him and tears came to his eyes and he hugged him and he wanted to celebrate his sons return. Imagine the confusion and awkwardness of this moment. His father delighted in him when he had every reason not to. So here’s the point, his father wasn’t pleased by his son’s actions, but he simply just enjoyed his son’s presence. It wasn’t what he did to earn his love; it was just natural uninfluenced love. How did we miss this? We are the son, we run from God we do our own thing, and every time God loves you. Don’t cheapen Jesus’s sacrifice by trying to pay him back. God does not regret saving you, you have no sin that is more powerful and the cross of Jesus.
This is what he died for, not shame, but love.
We aren’t fixed we’re found.