I spent this past weekend refinishing an old four poster bed for our home. It's a gorgeous bed, but needed a lot of work to be useable. We had to wipe off the dust, repair a leg, sand down the wood, fill dents with wood puddy, sand again, and paint it several coats of creamy eggshell semi-gloss before I was willing to bring it into my home. Even after setting it up, we kept a jar of paint so we could touch-up any future chips. Sometimes, I perceive my own salvation a lot like I see that bed. I was broken and unwanted, yet God patched me up and made me presentable. He transformed me from something ugly into something that is tolerated my Him and by the church, but it took a lot of work and I definitely need a fresh coat of paint every few years.
Thank goodness that perception of God's grace is completely wrong. Robert Capon wrote, "Life is a web of trails and temptations, but only one of them can ever be fatal, and that is the temptation to think that by further, better, and more aggressive living that we can have life. But that will never work. If the world could have lived it's way to salvation, it would have long ago. The fact is that it can only die it's way there, lose its way there."
As a Christian woman, nearly everyday I catch myself performing, striving, checking off a never ending to-do list in the false hope that deep down others and God will love me more if my life looks a certain way. It's exhausting and there is no freedom there. Only fear. I'm just whitewashing the mess that actually is my life. God's word promises something different.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4, ESV
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. Romans 8:14-15, ESV
We aren't slaves, needing to constantly improve our lives in order to be loved. We are already cherished. Our salvation is finished. Christ has already rescued us to the uttermost. (Hebrews 7:25) I don't need approval or order or success to be a child of God because I already am His child. If I die tomorrow, my eternity is sure. If I live another hundred years, serving, and accomplishing, and building into the kingdom, my eternity is sure. Our daily disciplines and service should flow out of our desire to be near to God and to please Him, not to earn His favor or the admiration of others.
This week, let's strive to walk in that freedom. To thank Him again and again for transforming us from something ugly into his, own beloved children. We aren't merely accepted or tolerated, we are His own.
Posted by Heather Kneisler