DEAR SELF CONDEMNING,

photo by Mariss Eanes

photo by Mariss Eanes

I know how to share the gospel like the back of my hand. But I’ve come to realize that every time I was preaching God’s grace there was a whisper saying, “Yeah but you’re the exception.”

This little but constant whisper led me to being legalistic about loving God, and being robotic about 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome"

But see friend, I've recited that so much that I've neglected the fact that we love because He first loved us.

God’s love for me isn't dependent on me being perfect...
...on me serving Him
...on me knowing a lot about the Bible and theology
...on me not sinning
...on me

It's a gift.
It's a gift.
It's a gift that I need to accept daily. Because failure is daily.

But I'm not identified or defined by that, but by the work of Jesus.

Photo by Tim Kothlow

Photo by Tim Kothlow

See, the more I try to work for His love, the more I limit the work on the cross. When we look at God’s grace as something we have to earn, we uproot the very thing Jesus suffered for. We diminish the gospel, because we essentially believe that we have a role in the giving. But we don’t; we are simply privileged with receiving.

The thing is my sweet sister, God already knows that we can't give our best.

HE ALREADY KNOWS.

Me lying is no surprise.
Me coveting someone's married life is no surprise.
Me being fearful about getting a job is no surprise.
Me prioritizing fear of men over fearing God is absolutely no surprise.
No surprise at all.

Earlier in John’s letter he writes in chapter 4:18

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

So let's not run with any weights of fear, guilt, shame, or judgement. We can't live in a state of sorrow for our insufficiencies when Jesus' strength is put on display when we ask him to help.

When we condemn ourselves we aren't dwelling in God's love, but in self sufficiency. We can get up, we can breathe each morning’s breath because God views us with eyes filled with love soaked in grace. Throw off the cloak of guilt and fear, and walk in freedom friend. Praying for you!

 
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Sincerely, 
Jessica Bills

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