I find myself seeking wisdom and wondering what God has for me to learn today. I have said it before and I will say it again. I am not perfect. I do not always make time to seek out God. I do not always make time to pray. I do not always make time to get in to HIS word. I do not always make the right decision. I do not always respond with love. I do not always practice forgiveness. I could go on and on about what is wrong with me whether it be something I do or don’t do. But one thing that caught my attention about myself today is my motive.
I am sure some of you will relate to this. I do my best to do the right thing. But, in trying to do the right thing my motive is sometimes to keep up my appearance of being good. Specifically, I want God to see me as good. I have searched my heart recently and realized a difference in myself when I have the wrong motives. I am happier, less stressed and worry much less when I simply live with the freedom God intended for me. The freedom to love HIM and be loved by HIM. The freedom to make mistakes without the fear of being looked down upon. The freedom to be human without fear of losing the grace and love that HE has for me. It is when I am doing things in hopes of receiving some form of blessing or recognition that I find myself being stressed and worried and anxious.
When I am focused on getting something in return, things become more hectic. I don’t know why I even go through phases where I feel like I must earn my salvation. I don’t know why I sometimes feel like I must earn back God’s love for me. Perhaps it was years of being told by a church that God only loves me if I follow certain rules. That somehow, I am more of a Christian if I don’t drink alcohol. Or if I don’t have evil thoughts. Maybe it was the expectation of perfection that many churches and religious people put on me. Perfection was demanded to be a “true Christian” yet perfection is unattainable. Regardless of what the cause is, I have those times where I feel like I am not doing enough. Or I feel guilty if I don’t wake up and immediately pray or open my Bible. I feel guilty because I missed a Sunday morning church service or didn’t put anything in the offering.
As I have grown and matured in my PERSONAL relationship with God I have come to realize that I don’t need to feel that way at all. I am not saved by my works. I did not have to spend my life up to this point trying to get God to love me. I do not have to live the rest of my life trying to earn my salvation with offerings or more prayer time or reading the Bible cover to cover every year. I have also realized that too many people think this way or worse, expect others to put that kind of pressure on themselves so Jesus doesn’t cut them out of HIS will. It is sad and it is frustrating and it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that at one time I probably turned people away from knowing Jesus because I told them how they had to live to know HIM. But what a different outlook I have now that I know freedom.
It is incredibly liberating to know that HE didn’t ask me to live a life full of great works. He just asked me to believe. At our core as Christians, regardless of denomination, that is the one thing we all agree on. It starts with believing. I won’t quote the entire chapter but I encourage you to read Romans 3. Here is just a little bit that stuck out to me as I read it today:
Romans 3:19-26 English Standard Version
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being[a] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Just notice a couple of things here:
In verse 22, “right standing” with God is available to all who believe.
In verse 23, no one can stake claim to this righteousness based on his or her own obedience, for ALL people have sinned and fall short of what God demands.
So here I sit again in awe of God. How HE knows just what I need and when I need it. HE placed a check in my heart just moments before writing this. My motives for doing what I thought was right were wrong. That check in my heart has reminded me that I don’t need a motive to love God. I don’t need a motive to seek out wisdom in HIS word. I don’t need a motive to do what is right. I simply need to BELIEVE in HIM.
Here is the heart of Christian faith: For at the cross, God’s justice and love meet. (How powerful is that!!!!!!! Mind blown over and over!!)
My hope today is that I move on without a motive. That you live and love without motive. That you and I just enjoy that true freedom HE has given us by taking care of our sins and loving us UNCONDITIONALLY. If we remember nothing else, let us remember that HE has an UNCONDITIONAL love for us. There are no conditions for us to fulfill to keep HIS love. GOD Bless all of you!!!