Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 25, 2020
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9
I’m in a really great place spiritually at this time in life. It’s not because I’m reading my Bible for longer periods each morning. It’s not because my prayer life is better than it’s ever been. It’s because I’m in a season of rest.
I’m resting from worrying if I’m doing enough for Christ.
I’m resting from beating myself up over wrongs, even while I acknowledge and confess them.
I’m resting from worrying about the future.
Why? Because I’m just resting in God’s love.
I’m resting in the truth that Jesus has great affection for me and that nothing can take it away. I don’t have to perform to earn His love. I don’t have to beat myself up when I blow it. I simply need to accept His love and when I live in that love, He will empower me to do His will. He will strengthen me through His love to serve Him without experiencing the emotional and spiritual exhaustion that comes from feeling like you are not enough, and that you have to do more to be loved.
In 2003, I started doing formal ministry writing, speaking and traveling around the country.
After I wrote a couple of books, I was excited about the journey ahead, but I didn’t anticipate that ministry would create a kind of performance mentality in me. Without even realizing it, my identity became wrapped up in what I did, rather than who I am in Christ.
I’m not sure where this mentality originated, but it eventually wore down my spirit and I felt if I wasn’t doing formal ministry, writing books and speaking, then I wasn’t doing enough for God. And, deep down I feared I would lose His affection.
I knew these emotions were ungodly and not based on truth, so after a period of time, I cut back on work. I stopped traveling. I quit speaking. I stopped striving to do more in ministry so I could rediscover who I truly am in Christ.
What I’ve relearned after a long sabbatical from speaking and feeling like I had to push my career, is that Jesus is as close to me as He has ever been. Now, I read the Bible as an outgrowth of my love and relationship with Him, not because I’m trying to earn His favor or because I feel I have to perform.
Now my prayers are an expression of finding joy in Him, not to avoid his wrath. This is what it means to experience His grace. Grace means that we know we are loved and accepted in the Beloved. No matter what we do—or don’t do—we are loved just because we are His children. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to do better and cooperate with His sanctification in our lives. It simply means that we are loved no matter what.
Do you struggle with feeling you are not doing enough for Christ or that He doesn’t love you when you don’t perform? Remember He loves you. He loves you. He loves you. And this love, demonstrated on the cross, is a guarantee that His love will never let you go. When you accept this truth, you will be able to serve Him from a heart full of gratitude and love—rather than a heart that is performing out of fear.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
Lord, I am so glad that I am your child and that no matter what I will always be your child. Help me to remember this so that grace compels me, rather than fearing wrath.
Are you performing in some way to avoid God’s wrath? Do you need to lay something down to rediscover His love?
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