What is God’s desire for your life? Hardship, so you learn lessons? Or punishment for willful disobedience?
How many of us are ensnared by condemnation because we’ve done things we knew not to do? We wrestle with wondering how God can forgive us for something we knowingly chose.
Is the issue really about God’s forgiveness…or forgiving ourselves?
Some of my biggest struggles have come through not allowing God’s grace to wash over me. But instead, standing as judge and jury over terrible choices I’ve made. And then limping through life as a Christian cripple.
Smiling in church and smiling in the grocery store because I don’t want to appear as anything but a loving Christian. My focus leaning toward being a good witness rather than dealing with the lack of peace and joy in my life.
Because again, my assumption was the lack of peace and joy was my fault. And the solution had to be to try harder, work harder, study my Bible harder so that love would stick to me. If I could have pressed those pages against my skin and absorbed the love and hope God says is mine, I would have.
I wonder if instead of transparency with our inner struggles, we isolate because we don’t want to sound like God isn’t strong enough to fix us. Because maybe our view of Him is that He isn’t, and that’s too scary a thought to entertain, so we just try all the harder to overcome “me.”
But what if the problem isn’t “me”? What if the path to freedom is laid out on those thin pages, but we don’t really know what it means or how to apply it to our lives?
Is it possible what we have forever read as commands in the Bible are actually invitations?
Is it possible that if we follow a command we relegate ourselves to a path that leads to burdens, but if we accept invitations we step onto a path of freedom?
When we read the scripture that says to think on things that are lovely and pure and admirable, and we see it as a mission to be accomplished that has our failure or success at the end of it, we are headed to bondage. The burden to perform for God and other Christians.
But if we soak on that scripture (in anticipation rather than fear that we are failing) and look to Jesus and step into intimate fellowship with Him, seeking Him for what that looks like in our lives, we have moved from “doing” to “being.”
One path is about behavior and the other is about heart connection with God.
Which do you think God prefers? Is He more concerned with how others perceive us, so we don’t ruin our “public witness,” or is He excited to teach us how to get the gunk out of our lives so we radiate the beautiful relationship we have with Jesus?
It all comes down to how we see Him. Is He a Friend, Father, Counselor, Healer and Comforter or is He a difficult judge who is disappointed and occasionally angry with our choices?
One is Someone we run to, the other a task master we avoid.
What if we repented for letting the enemy of our souls define God’s character to us, and intentionally discovered WHO-HE-REALLY-IS? To us…in the midst of our selfishness, our apathy, our ugly choices.
We will discover He is Love and He is Good and He is for us.
Father God, I want to know you intimately. I have been afraid to come close for fear You will reject me or scold me. I know I make mistakes and I don’t understand how the enemy plays into all this in my life, but I want to learn more about who You really are and what You have for me. Will You show me what You think when You look at me? Will You show me how much You love me? Open the eyes of my heart so I may see and know clearly. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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