I don’t know about you but I struggle almost daily with inadequacies. One that haunts me the most is “I’m not doing enough for God”. I have these thoughts that I’m not praying enough, reading the Word enough, attending enough church events, evangelizing, giving to others… you name it, I just think that God is thinking “you can do better”, or simply “I’m disappointed”. I don’t know where the idea popped into my mind one day that God will “think less of me” or even worst, He’d love me less, but it dropped by and won’t go without a fight. It became so bad at one point and time, that I almost made myself believe that if I missed quiet time one day God would be mad at me or if I didn’t pray before leaving the house I wouldn’t be covered and that something bad may happen. I was essentially living in fear and bondage. I am not sure if you can relate and if not, good! But for those of you who can, let’s look at God’s truth on how to combat these negative thoughts.
In order for me to get at the heart of the matter I had to realize that I didn’t really understand the concept of grace or “justification by faith”. As a Christian this understanding is vital, as it is the very foundation of our faith. I have struggled greatly with the concept of grace because if I can be very candid, I’m an all or nothing type of girl, very “black and white”. I’ve always had this rigid moral compass, either something is wrong or right, either you work for it or you don’t, you’re punished for doing bad and rewarded for doing good, etc. you get the point. Don’t get me wrong, I can demonstrate grace for others and be very understanding but when it comes to myself, I am definitely my own worst critic. So go back to my admitted struggles at the start of this post, how can I reconcile and navigate through my open self-proclaimed shortcomings and still be right with God? Jesus! I had to take a trip over to Ephesians and Romans and let the Word of God seep into my heart. Let’s take a look:
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:4-8
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished”- Romans 3:23-25
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” –Romans 6:14
These texts help me to remember that God gives me His love freely and I’m not saved by my works but grace alone! For this to mean anything to you, we have to understand God’s grace. So, what does grace mean? God’s unmerited favor! Meaning His grace for us is unwarranted, undeserving, and unearned. He bestows it upon us simply through our faith in Christ. Not only do we have this wonderful gift of grace but we are justified, which means we are made right with God and credited with Christ’ righteousness. So every time God looks at us through all the good, bad, and the ugly, He’s sees Christ in us! That should help you breathe a sigh of relief like never before. I know it does for me because it takes the pressure off me believing that there is something that I could possibly do or not do in my case that will cause God to love me less or take away my salvation. I never earned it in the first place, He freely gave it to me and to you too! This is so we can never be in a position to brag about what we have done to enter into His precious kingdom, “Not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9). I have realized that my works really mean nothing because they are not what saved or saves me, God does.
I pray that you will read the scriptures outlined and become more secure in your relationship with God. It’s time to let go of any guilt or condemnation because it’s not of God (Romans 8:1-2). You won’t always get “it” right, or make the right decisions, or be the “right kind of Christian” and lucky for you and I, that isn’t a problem because God has us covered. Grace is incomprehensible at times and that is okay. Just know that it is extended to you by a God who loves you and knows your heart. Grace is not a free pass to do whatever we want, it’s a pass to do better with the fresh starts and expunged records that God gives us daily. What will you do with yours?
Love you all and until next time, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!