If I’m actually accepted by the Father Himself because of Jesus’ sacrifice, shouldn’t I be free from the need to break my back to gain acceptance from my friends, family, and coworkers?
I’m not the deepest person in the world – or the most thoughtful. As a result, I’ve always led my life like the proverbial bull in the china shop, primarily concerned about my own fulfillment/satisfaction/pleasure/gain without much awareness or regard for the trail of destruction I leave behind. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that God seems to have a weird tendency to bring sight to the blind. In my case, it was a unique journey that involved (loving) confrontation, difficult conversations, self-reflection, and much prayer. I’m still in the middle of that journey – I’m assuming that’ll be the case for the rest of my days. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that part of the beauty of the Gospel lies in how it’s so deeply counter-intuitive to human logic. While on earth, Jesus was constantly turning the world’s wisdom on its head, doing crazy things like (a) declaring that “the last [would] be first and the first… last,” (b) praising the humility of children rather than the accomplishments of adults, and, (c) ultimately, sacrificing himself on the cross for the sake of his enemies. Having had 24+ years to think about it, I can only conclude that (a) literally every area of my life needs to change and be redeemed and (b) that the Spirit is more than up to the challenge of doing so.
I’m still in the middle of that journey – I’m assuming that’ll be the case for the rest of my days.
A few more things that I’ve been noticing… If I’m actually accepted by the Father Himself because of Jesus’ sacrifice, shouldn’t I be free from the need to break my back to gain acceptance from my friends, family, and coworkers? If there’s really “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” doesn’t that mean that it’s not the end of the world when I make mistakes? If it’s true that there’s no greater security than what Jesus’ shed blood affords, am I not free to expose my money, reputation, and emotions? If I really believe that I’ve been filled up as a result of Christ emptying himself on the cross, shouldn’t I be able to pour myself back out for the people around me – even those I don’t particularly care for – and do it with a joyful and thankful heart? Sadly, it’s a battle to daily remember and live out all of these truths. The struggle is very, very real. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will fly on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.” Hoping and praying that, as a church, we can walk and grow together in the softening and renewal of our hearts by the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone. Kevin