My Christian walk has been like that. On the surface I looked like someone who understood God’s love and His grace, but underneath gushed a torrent of accusations from the enemy that I had a hard time dismissing: “How could God love you when you act like that? You better obey or there will be no blessing for you. If you were truly a Christian, you wouldn’t _________.”
As long as I checked the boxes and followed the rules, everything appeared normal. My hard work resulted in beautiful landscaping to show the world. My lawn was meticulously manicured, the flowers were blooming, the beds perfectly mulched. But then I would get angry and blow up at my kids, or disrespect my husband with my judgmental remarks and selfish demands, or burn with jealousy over my friend’s new house or exotic vacation, and that river of accusations would burst forth, flooding all of my work and leaving me feeling weak and guilty, an utter failure.
I love Romans 8. I love that the gospel goldmine of this chapter is sandwiched between two rich, bedrock truths for those IN CHRIST, expressed in the opening and closing verses: There is no condemnation from the wrath of God, and there is no separation from the love of God. I am loved, safe, and secure. In Christ, my standing is free from condemnation. Sometimes I still wrestle with getting beyond that image of God as the Judge. Even when I hear his gavel hit and the words “not guilty!” reverberate, I can at times feel insecure, especially with my accuser ever at the ready to fill my mind with doubts about God’s love. Romans 8 reminds me that when his verdict is read, God sets aside those judicial robes, steps from behind the bench, and approaches me as a Father, wrapping his arms around me in love. I am his daughter, and nothing can wedge itself between me and His everlasting arms. Where once I was hopeless, hostile, and helpless, his Spirit is now enabling me to live a new life, leading me as a child of God, sustaining me in suffering and interceding for me in my weakness. He has set me free from the power of sin and the guilt of sin, and he empowers my Christian life from beginning to end.
No more DIY landscaping for me. My yard has a new Landscaper, and he has put in a pool, filled with Living Water and overflowing with love, mercy, and grace. My prayer is that I would tend it as a faithful steward, gladly obeying as an act of worship, abiding in Him, and bearing much fruit, all for his glory, and not my own.
A little about Heather:
I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who loves Jesus and lives in a messy house where things aren’t perfect. I’ve been married to my complete opposite, Augie, for 18 1/2 years, and we have 2 teenage daughters, Elise and Claire, and an 11-year-old son, Gordon. My favorite way to relax is to lose myself in a book. I’m an introvert who loves one-on-one conversations but gets freaked out by large crowds. I enjoy baking and pretending that I know how to be crafty.