To be loved by God, I had to earn it.
Or so I thought.
In my younger years I was either taught, or I somehow caught, to be loved by God I had a list of tasks I must do:
Go to church each Sunday.
Obey the Ten Commandments.
Say memorized prayers.
Follow a strict set of rules I didn’t understand.
It’s no wonder I sunk to the point where my faith became a burden. It became something I detested. It was confusing, laborious, and down-right disappointing.
You see, I could never measure up. I just couldn’t be good enough to earn God’s love no matter how I tried. And believe me, I tried. But, I messed up… time after time after time.
I eventually gave in and gave up.
My religion turned into rebellion.
It was ugly. I became rebellious and defiant, and I turned into someone I didn’t like. How could God possibly love me now?
It wasn’t until I came face-to-face with the truth, and was taught something entirely different…
God loves me for who I am, not what I do.
Not even the highest places or the lowest, or anything else in all creation can separate us. Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done. Romans 8:39 NIRV
This truth dismantled my idea of who God was, and rattled my perception of faith. It turned everything I did, and how I lived, upside-down. It was refreshing, unburdensome, and oh, so freeing.
“What, I don’t have to earn God’s love? I don’t have a list of do’s and don’ts to follow? I can just live in God’s unconditional love, even when I mess up? He loves me no matter what??”
My life began to change. My faith became a real, thriving, and active faith, and this time it was centered on Jesus. The Way. The Truth. The Life.
My religion turned into a relationship.
My focus switched from me and what I had to do, to Jesus and what He did for me.
This transformation happened years ago, and I still marvel at the truth of how Jesus laid down His life for mine. I can’t help but desire to live a life that honors Him.
Sure, I still mess up (probably more than most), but I am no longer under condemnation and guilt when I do. He continues to love me, grow me, and mold me into the woman He desires me to be.
One of my greatest desires is for others to come face to face with this same truth:
God loves you for who you are, not what you do.
You can let go of all the “extras,” and are free to live out who you are in Jesus.
You are precious,
You are loved.
I pray today this truth sinks deep. We don’t have to strive any longer.
Rest in His love, my friend.
This post first appeared here on July 30, 2015.
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