"What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work.
So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily."
Galatians 2:19-21 (MSG)
Wow! Who knew that was in the Bible? I certainly didn't.
Well I did, kinda...you might recognize it as "I have been crucified with Christ so I no longer live, but Christ lives in me..." as stated in the NIV. But there is something so special about reading your bible and then looking at it through different translation lenses.
I woke up this morning and the first thing I do before I get out of bed is open my YouVersion app and read the daily scripture. It does not replace my quiet time with God, but due to pressing demands on my time, this is the best way to get some Jesus in me before I get out of bed.
This is what was on my screen as I groggily opened my eyes and the words of the screen jumped off my Iphone and right into my heart.
I can relate so much to this scripture. I have been a believer my whole life and always thought that doing, saying, wearing the right thing helped me be a "better" Christian. I have always been labeled a "good girl" although I secretly hated it, it did make me feel I was just a bit closer to heaven than those around me that still clung tightly to worldly things.
Talk about a mirror into my Pharisee double life! That kind of attitude gets you no where fast! I have had to cut myself some slack and say "You know what? I am not going to get it all right and I am going to make mistakes and that is OK. It doesn't negate God's calling on my life. It doesn't make God mad at me and I am certainly not going to be condemned for slipping up every once in a while."
Bringing my honest self to the Lord is the greatest sacrifice anyone could ever make...inadequacies and all.
I have also had to cut other people slack too. God did not create us all the same! That's what is beautiful about this world. God created us with different temperaments, personalities, struggles, and victories so that not one of us would be identical. We need to embrace who God made us to be and give a lot more grace to other people who aren't like us.
It's OK to step outside of your box and make friends with people who may not exactly be like you or think like you. Jesus took a smorgasbord of men from varying occupations and backgrounds and created 12 phenomenal disciples out of them. From stinky old fishermen to snooty tax collectors Jesus picked a lot of men who to a Pharisee's eyes had no chance at getting anywhere near close to the coming Messiah.
But what can be said about these men?
"Now when the men of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) saw the confidence and boldness of Peter and John, and grasped the fact that they were uneducated and untrained [ordinary] men, they were astounded, and began to recognize that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13 (AMP)
The important thing is not the cross around our necks, the bumper sticker on our cars, or the political party we are affiliated with, but the fact that we have taken the time to spend with Jesus. What freedom falling into the arms of Jesus brings rather than falling into the trap of religion.
Don't let satan confuse conviction for condemnation. Yes God is good and He loves us as our Heavenly Father, but any good father will discipline and when we come under that discipline let it convict you and change you for the better. Condemnation brings with it heavy guilt that you feel you can't get out of. Guess what? When sins are forgiven they are also forgotten. Rest in that.
What is hindering you from fully walking into the freedom Jesus offers in His Presence? I challenge you to take it to Him in prayer this morning- whether on your lunch break, waiting in the carpool line, or in the quietness of your bedroom before you drift off to sleep tonight- give it to Him. Whatever you are clinging onto too tightly- perfectionism, sin, fear of the unknown, whatever it is. Start walking in his freedom today!
If it was all about religion
What to do What to say What to Wear
On a Sunday
All about perfection
Black and white Wrong or Right Never Grey
I'd never make it
I'd never be good enough
Then I threw my hands up, worries down
I remember when he showed me how
to break up with my doubt, once I was
lost but now I am found
No strings attached when he saved my soul
I want you to know the God I know
The God I Know by Love and the Outcome