I used to think I was a good girl. Growing up I was the straight A student (with the exception of P.E.!); I didn't drink or do drugs; I didn't swear; I saved myself for marriage; I was responsible and dependable - good at ticking boxes. I loved Jesus with all my heart - but secretly, I wasn't sure if he really needed to die for me. I mean, I was so good already!
And that's why the cross is called a stumbling block- it means that none of us measure up to God's standard of goodness. To accept the cross is to accept that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And that no matter how many good deeds we do; how good at keeping the rules we are or ticking the boxes; no matter how gifted or talented we may be; no matter how much we improve, that absolutely nothing we do can change that fact..
God used a broken and hurting little boy to show me how broken - how far from good - I really was. When I was 28 years old, and mother to a four year old and 15 month old, God orchestrated events for our 3 year old nephew to come and live with us. At the time we thought it would be forever, but in the end it was only for a beautifully messy season. I threw myself wholeheartedly into fixing him - but in the end it was him who fixed me.
I thought I was patient - he showed me I wasn't
I thought I had self-control - he showed me I didn't
I thought I was loving - he showed me I didn't know the first thing about unconditional love
I thought I was good - he showed me how desperately I need grace
For some of us, our sin is so visible, so obvious that we gladly run to the cross. Like the women caught in the act of adultery, forced to stand before the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, we know that 'guilty' is stamped across our lives; we know that we need to be forgiven. But for me, my sin was wrapped up in my pride. It was hidden in a facade of external goodness that kept me from being truly embraced by grace; that kept me from being free.
It was only as I came face to face with all that I was not, that I realised how desperately I needed all that He is; all that He has done. In the midst of all my failings, I finally saw the beauty of the cross - that it is only as we die to ourselves and crucify our foolish pride that we really come alive.
The cross has undone me. And in undoing me, it has made me whole.
When I realised that all my righteous acts were like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), I was not met with condemnation; I was met with grace. The true depth of Christ's love for me could be seen when I understood that I was not loved because I was good - I was loved because I was His.
Because of grace He gave Himself for me
Because of grace He made me whole
Because of grace He calls me daughter
My nephew gave me a precious gift in the years that he lived with us - he allowed me to understand grace. He let me be the safe place for his brokenness and in turn, shone the light on my own. Only then was Jesus truly able to become my safe place - the Saviour that I hadn't really thought I needed.
I pray that whatever season you find yourself in as you read this, that you too would know the beauty and the freedom that comes when we surrender to His grace.
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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