This is the second post in the series, “Abiding in Christ–when reading the Bible isn’t an option.” Check out all the posts here.
There’s a problem for those of us who grow up in an established religious tradition: we bring with us the baggage of rituals, expectations, thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots, and we end up either prideful & arrogant because we think we’re doing well or depressed & overwhelmed because we’ve fallen so short.
How Do You View Yourself?
I’ve written before about my experience as a goody-two-shoes growing up. I wanted to please God and my parents; I wanted to make them proud.
But behind the guise of polished shoes and hair bows was a prideful selfish little brat, and that battle continues to wage inside of me. At my very core, I’m just as sinful as the next person, perhaps even more so.
That sinful nature within me keeps me from doing the good things I really want to do:
- I may read the Bible four or five days in a row… but something else inevitably comes up and my perfect streak gets broken, and I get discouraged.
- I bite my tongue and swallow my pride with admirable effort… but there comes a time when I blow up and leave shrapnel all around me.
- I promise never to overeat ice cream again… but I somehow still wind up with the carton and a spoon as I catch up on The Biggest Loser from the comfort of the couch.
I make resolutions and fail, stop trying until my conscience is pricked and I decide to try again. It’s an endless cycle that leads nowhere. But there’s good news for all of us women overwhelmed by religious to-dos and shameful falling-shorts.
We need only to embrace it.
The Turning Point
When I hide behind my good intentions and pretend I’m not so bad after all, I miss the grace that could be mine in Jesus.
If I’m going to experience God, I need to learn to view myself as He views me, and that this: a hopeless sinner saved by grace, called His daughter, and loved beyond my wildest imagination.
Until I learn to embrace my identity as God views me, I can’t experience a joyful relationship with Him.
A goody-two-shoes has no need for a Savior.
A self-righteous prick doesn’t care for Good News.
A depressed woman can’t believe reckless love for such a sinner.
A beaten-down person can’t see past her own failures to admire the Beautiful God-Man standing right in front of her.
So when God gives us a mirror to see ourselves, let us take it and gladly accept the identity He bestows on us.
Yes, I’m a sinner.
And yes, I need grace.
And yes, God loves me.
And yes, when He looks at me He sees the righteousness of Jesus.
And yes, I’m His beloved daughter.
And yes, He covers me with wave after wave of relentless love.
Yes, yes, yes!
Today, let go of the guilt and the shame of all the have-nots and are-nots. Embrace your position as forgiven sinner who needs more grace every day. Celebrate the extravagant love that God pours over you through Christ Jesus.
And walk into His presence with the quiet confidence that Jesus secured for us a place before the Father, and the Father views us with great love.
Day 2 Challenge: Learn to view yourself as God does
Precious Abba, I’m learning to let go of my own perceptions of myself and embrace who You say that I am. I am chosen. I am beloved. I am cherished. Even though I still wage war with sinful desires within me, You see me as righteous and holy because Jesus took all my sins on the cross. I give you all I am and all I will be, and I accept the identity You give me. Thank you for Your wild love. Help me to believe it today.
Experience Christmas like never before
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