I was making eggs one morning when the middle little man asked if he could help. "Mom can I cwack 'em?" I thought nope as I remembered the crunch of the eggshell that infiltrated my scrambled eggs yesterday morning after he helped, but I said yes anyway.
I was fishing three pieces of eggshell out of the mixture when out of the corner of my eye I saw him slip. Rather than washing in the bathroom, he tried to step onto the adjacent stool in attempt to wash his hands from the back of the kitchen sink. He missed his step and tumbled down to the ground with an loud thud. The cry that erupted was more than startled, it was one of deep pain. I scooped him up onto my shoulder and headed for the couch where we sat.
I held him as he told me about all the things that were hurting him. He sat in the comfort of my arms while we waited for his pain to subside.
We haven't always shared moments like this together.
I thought about the many times my children have hurt themselves. It happens regularly. They have so often fallen because they were standing or leaning instead of sitting, stumbled because they were running not walking, and experienced other pain as a consequence of not trusting and obeying my instructions.
I thought about how so often I defaulted to something like this: "Well, you shouldn't have been doing that. Why were you doing that in the first place? If you hadn't been doing, this wouldn't have happened."
Maybe you have to.
All before offering an ounce of compassion for the pain they are in.
Why does condemnation comes so naturally to me? At times, finding fault and assigning blame is as easy as breathing. My flesh wants my child to know their responsibility in the matter before I can offer compassion.
Maybe I'm afraid the natural consequence isn't enough to change their behaviour. So I add some guilt and condemnation on top of it. Or my pride wants them to know that should have listened to me.
My responses expose me, for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. It revealed this truth had not yet taken root in my heart:
"Therefore, no condemnation exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin's domain and as a sin offering in order that the law's requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:1-4)
My reaction to them reflected my perception of God's response to me. If I am quick to condemn, perhaps it's because I still feel like God will condemn me.
Nothing could be further from the truth because the truth is, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
This morning, after I comforted my little man, after my presence assured him, then I reminded him of the truth: Remember that I want you to be safe? I don't want you to stand on the barstools because you could fall. Because I love you, I don't want you to hurt yourself.
What does this have to do with how we approach God's word?
If you're like me, you've spent a great deal of time feeling certain that God is mad at you. If not mad, then at least unhappy. If not unhappy, not completely satisfied.
You never feel like enough. So you keep striving. Or give up altogether.
You feel like there's no way God could be gracious to you again. You've asked for forgiveness so many times. You feel that he must arms crossed because you haven't opened your Bible, prayed or maybe not been to church. Maybe you've pulled away from His people, His presence and His plan for any number of reasons and you feel like He's a tad upset about that.
The only way you would seek out someone you expect condemntation from is if you're a glutton for punishment. And most of us aren't.
Do you know that no condemnation exists for you in Christ Jesus because you haven't opened your Bible or lost it on your kids or stayed home from church. No condemnation exists because you haven't kept all the lofty promises you made to Him. You've said this time, it'll be different. This time, I'll get it right. This time, you'll be so glad you chose me. This time, I won't drop the ball.
If you are in Christ Jesus, how God feels toward you actually has nothing to do with what you have done or are currently doing. It's not about what you can muster up. It's about who you placed your faith in. It's about what He did. And it has everything to do with being in Christ Jesus.
He is for you. He is. He is. He is.
He is SO for you.
So today, would you be willing to believe this? Would you confess before Him that you, like me, thought it had a little more to do with you than the price that Jesus paid on the cross?
Because when you know to the depths of your being, that no condemnation exists only because of Christ Jesus, it will not breed complacency. It will cultivate confidence.
This confidence will keep your thirsty soul coming back to the living water you need so badly instead of running away because you feel too guilty to ask for it.
We don't get into the word to gain acceptance from God, we get into the Word because we are accepted by God.
His acceptance assures us of our security in Him. Security stirs surrender. Surrender is the soil for sanctification.
When we get that our salvation rests in what Jesus did on the cross, not on how many consecutive days we checked all the boxes on our spiritual to do list, guess what happens? We approach the throne of grace with boldness to find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.
So my friend, produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
If you want to, say this to Him like you mean it:
Lord, I confess that I think your faithful love rests on my record. Forgive me for my self-sufficiency and avoiding the Word because I expect condemnation. Thank you that in Christ, there is no condemnation for me. Fill me with your Spirit so that I will approach you with confidence in and through Christ. Help me believe you are for me. Thank you for your acceptance that gives me the security I need to surrender. Renew my mind in your truth. Your will is my sanctification. In Jesus name...
Stay tuned, we will keep talking about HOW!