Focus Scripture Galatians 5:1
It is for Freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
I’ve heard the mantra several times in recent months: I’m not sure I can do this God thing. I’m not sure you understand all I’ve done. I’ve tried to talk to God but I am just too ashamed. Or even, I’m not built to be good.
And then there is this cringe-worthy statement: There’s so much hatred out there for people like me. I feel like if I don’t toe the line, God will never hear me. I tried to go to church but I was judged right out of my seat within a month.
And I try to respond the same way each time: Accepting the gift of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with what you’ve done, but what He has done for you, because of, and in spite of what you’ve done.
He is the one who paid the price.
What is it you hold on to, that is so big and awful, that Jesus has not already seen or heard or forgiven? Why is it you think you have powers over Jesus Christ? What is holding more power over you than Him? I don’t care what you think you’ve done or how many times. Jesus is bigger. Jesus is greater than anything you put in front of him.
God has the perfect Gift to free you from the doubts and confusion that this world makes Christianity out to be. All you have to do is open it. Free yourself from the chains that bind you. Free yourself from the stone wall that covers your heart. Free yourself from the cobwebs that cloud your mind from peace. Free yourself from all of it by accepting the gift that God gives you in Jesus Christ.
Still can’t open it? Picture yourself in the scenario below:
You’ve reached out to God with a simple, “Hey”.
“I have a gift for you,” He says.
You feel love and peace already. And you like gifts, but feel shy or embarrassed. But you also feel a tiny little thrill that builds when you think of opening the gift.
And then you remember your brokenness. And you chew your lip in uncomfortable silence as Satan sneaks ugly thoughts into your mind. He tells you that even though you accept the gift, you’ll go right back to your same old ways. You’ll never get it right.
God interrupts your thoughts and says simply, “Don’t worry about him. I’ll take care of him,” and stretches his arms out with his gift.
You know there is something special inside and your chest tightens with the anticipation of a freedom you never knew existed. You can feel it. And just when you reach out to receive the gift, you draw back. You just can’t. You start listing all of the reasons and making rational arguments so God doesn’t think you are rejecting Him, you are just…doing him a favor.
He urges you, “This gift used to be mine. It is my most treasured belonging. Now I want you to have it.”
But you whisper, “I can’t”.
“Go ahead. I love you. You are my child and more than anything, I want you to be with me for eternity. All you have to do is accept the gift and then love it for the rest of your life. And if you accept this gift, I will never leave you. I will carry you when life seems at its worst and I will dance with you when life is at its most joyful. Once you open this, there’s nothing to do but love. Accept this gift and receive the promises I have fulfilled for many, many years.”
“But I am not able. I am not good enough or strong enough.”
You take the gift carefully in your hands…will you open it?
Father, I pray so earnestly for people who have never heard the message of Jesus, that there might be a whisper for them today. Let them see, feel, hear, touch or receive the message from a friend, stranger, book, song or dream. I pray that when they hear, their ears are so open that they can think of nothing else but the freedom of Jesus. God help them to forget all confusing messages of this world and hear only your loving offer. Help all of us to understand what a precious gift we have in Jesus and let us never take credit for the glory you deserve. Protect the soldiers defending The United States of America. Sharpen their senses to protect them. Confuse their enemies. Heal the physical and mental wounds that plague them. Bless their families and their work. May we come to peace under You. Amen.