How is the law so insidious?
Even knowing the truth that it's all about grace, that it's all about faith and NOT works, - the law had crept back into my life.
I mean – it's about who I am, I know – but what I DO matters too, right?
...I almost didn't notice it.
I was priding myself on seeking to please God, and Not going easy on sin in my life – not a bad thing. Actually neither of those are bad things. But as has been pointed out to me time and time again, it's not the bad thing in life that sets itself up against the best – it's the good. The almost-best. That tricks us and tantalizes us – Eve did not bite into a piece of ugly or rotten fruit.
A few days after a dear friend told me that I was being too hard on myself – and I brushed them off with a mental but self-righteous, “how could they understand?” – God hit me. Very gently. Like He always does...
It started with another friend who had just bought a book – and it looked good. So I borrowed it for two days... 'cause-I-don't-really-have-time-to-read-it, but-I-could-skim-it... and I ended up keeping it for two more days and not being able to put it down. One thing the author said JUMPED out at me:
“given the choice to please God or trust God, good girls become conflicted,... [it is like] a fork in the road. The marker to the left simply says Pleasing God. The one leading to the right reads Trusting God. It is hard to choose one over the other, because both roads have a good feel to them... it becomes obvious that we will not be able to jump back and forth between the two paths. We must choose one. Only one.”
“But isn't trusting God pleasing Him too?” you might ask... and rightfully so. I mean, that's what I thought at first, so it must be ok... :) ... but what's your motivation?
Here's the problem:
What if you already were pleasing to God?
What if He already delighted in you? I mean, He made you – so might it not stand to reason that He actually likes you? Then taking the path “Pleasing God” would be like trying to buy something that you already had. Or taking a gift back to the store and trying to pay for it again. Why would you ever want to do that?
God has been hounding me for the last four years with the statement, “Crystal, you can't earn love. You can't. Can't do it.” And I halfway understand Him... but then try to do just that, again. Please Him. Please others. Again.... And then I feel like I'm failing. Again. And I try to run away. Or hide. Or pretend that all is well... But... What if He already were pleased?... how dang freeing would that be...? To just be loved by Him... and to love in return... even if it were imperfectly? And then how much easier to trust Him... if His love truly. is. unconditional?
I was reminded of a teaching about Jesus that hit me hard once,
Before He did any miracles, before he healed any sick, raised any dead, preached any sermons, restored sight to any blind... before He walked on water and waaaay before He laid His life down, God looked down from Heaven and said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Before it all. Before he did anything to earn that.
Sure, you say, but wasn't Jesus perfect? He didn't do anything bad either...
[Oh, Perfect. Something that, alas, I never will be this side of Heaven...
praise God. I so want to be, it is an unholy addiction.]
Yes, He was. And because of that, I am ok too... because He shielded me as I was in the path of a righteous and holy and perfect God ... and all the imperfect things I ever did, am doing and will ever do were nailed to that cross with Him – and they don't count against me anymore. None of it. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Nada. Zilch. Nul. Nothing. The only thing that counts is the stuff that's for me... that I'm His daughter. And that He made me. And that He likes me. And that I can trust Him.
So. I think I am going to practice this. Waking up every day and saying Thank You, Father for being pleased with me and for loving me, just as I am. And tell Him that I really hope to hear Him and follow Him around, seeing what He does. 'Cause I know He loves me. And He wants to be with me (Jesus said so!). And maybe by being with Him, He'll rub off on me... and people will feel safe around me - like sinners felt with Jesus - and loved - like I am learning to be.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Merry Everything, friends.
ps. If you're the kind of person that wants a ton of scripture to back up stuff, GREAT. Hit me up and I'll send it all painstakingly detailed your way.