Friday, January 13, 2012
A word I never truly associated myself.
I never just really gave the word much thought simply because I never really understood what it meant or how it affected me.
It was one of those things posted in the halls of my Christian high school but never really thought about or discussed.
Safe to say, and mentioned previously, that I grew up in a legalistic environment where good deeds meant that good things were coming your way and living your life as a Christian meant you never stayed out too late, got drunk, wore short shorts or dated a trillion guys plus some other activity.
Being a Christian meant you stayed within the very fine, minute and rigid rules set out before you, that steering away meant you were bad and therefore your environment was bad. I was also sucked into thinking that whatever people say about me defined who I am.
I never quite understood the principle of being loved simply because God created me. I never understood that my life had a purpose and I was not walking aimlessly in the world trying to find it, I had purpose inside of me and God, everyday no matter how minute would reveal it to me until that work is completed.
It took me years to understand that no matter what I did or didn't do, all of these things don't matter unless I get to the cross, that no matter how many verses I memorize or how high I scored on my Values exam, my life will pretty much stay the same-- messy and often times unbearable.
When I first learned about the measure of God's love for me, I was flabergasted. Simply because I have not known that kind of love-- in human sense we never could understand the kind of love God has for us. His love for us is not measured about the things we do for Him, but by the things He has done for us through Jesus Christ.
We could never understand why, despite our brokenness, mistakes and failed attempts at "doing good", we are still loved and most importantly, we have been saved.
I could never, in any way, deserve what Jesus did for me, of how His love for me were represented by the scars on his hands and his feet. That no matter how many times I have failed in the past or how many times I will fail in the future, because I know I will-- I am still loved. I am still saved.
Jesus said, "It is done" on the cross and I believe that everything is done in His name. I may not understand it, maybe I wasn't meant to, but I know that Jesus thought I was worth it and in return, all i could is praise Him for that.
I could never measure up. My deeds would never be good enough. But that's the great thing about grace.
But at the same time, Jesus' love for me is what will transform me.
From broken into beautiful. From a life once lived in sin to a life that is willing to be restored by Him. When we have truly felt and have been deeply touched by the love of our Savior, it is quite impossible to go back to the person we used to be.
That my relationship with Jesus has nothing to do with rules. That it has nothing to do with being perfect but has everything to do with confessing that yes I do mess up, that yes I still cry, yes my life is not exactly the way I want it to be but with Jesus my previous life becomes a testimony of His healing power, my tears are turned into laughter and my life is better than I have dreamed of.
There is no formula. No rulebook. Just a relationship with Jesus.
Start with Him.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast."
- Ephesians 2:8-9