By Reagan Long
Have you ever gotten a really good gift? A gift that was so beyond what you were expecting, that you felt not just incredibly blessed, but even a bit unworthy of it?
I know I have. So by now you’re probably expecting to read something about the gospel, and while you’re not wrong, I’m taking a little detour first. You’re going to read about receiving from people first.
There have been times when I’ve received things, be it an actual present, an act of service, or just general kindness, that blew me away. I felt so blessed but so unworthy.
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It made me realize just how much of our society is based on performance and earning what we get. If you have good grades, it’s because you study to earn them, or if you have an ability or talent, it’s because you’ve practiced and developed it. Or people like you because you are nice/funny/helpful/etc. You basically conform to some kind of expectation and there are rewards for doing so, though we don’t usually see it that way.
Becoming aware of how I would unconsciously bring that mindset to normal, human relationships also made me aware of how I was bringing that into my relationship with the Lord. While I’ve known that Jesus died for my sins while I was a sinner and His enemy (Romans 5:8-10), it was a completely different thing to act in light of that truth in my relationship with Him.
A relationship of earning what we get has no place with God because ….
On our own we are completely unable to meet His standard.
I am really good about having ‘quiet time’ when I’m better about avoiding sins I know are common for me. But when I’m not, I’m less likely to want to meet the Lord and more likely to just go through the motions.
I’d brought performance into my walk with God. I felt like I had proven myself worthy by being a ‘good’ Christian, and when I fell short of that I recognized how unworthy I truly was by my own strength.
Jesus fulfilled everything necessary to bring us to God.
The fact of the matter is that it is ONLY by the blood of Jesus that I am able to enter into a relationship with God (John 14:6). He was fully human, and experienced all kinds of temptations that we do, but He never sinned, thus fulfilling the standard set by God (Hebrews 4:15, Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus’ sacrifice doesn’t change if I’ve been a ‘bad’ or a ‘good’ Christian. Sin does create a breach in my relationship with Him when I don’t confess it, but praise the Lord that He has made a way to overcome that!
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” –Romans 5:10