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Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

I think the blows of a year ago have caught up with me and I’m trying to get some equilibrium in my life…in every area. Honestly, during much of the summer, I felt like a slug, inching along, leaving a gooey mess behind. I just haven’t gotten much writing done this past few months.

Now, I have a house that is still unorganized and a body that is even heavier. I am feeling ashamed and gloomy and  feel I should be doing much better than I am. Why can’t I do better? Others have been dealt a much more difficult hand. I need to snap out of this. I need to get on the stick and get to work! But I’m getting nowhere.

I make tiny baby steps, but not much real progress. When I think of my heavenly Father, I am embarrassed. I want to do Him proud and I’m not doing a very good job! But wait. Is that how it works? Does He look at me with the same disgust I feel when I look at myself?

I spent Saturday night mostly sleepless, struggling over my continued failures

Saturday night was particularly difficult as I tossed and turned. I could not get to sleep! I was tormented by a litany of reminders of all my failures. They went from failures in devotional life, housework, parenting, caretaking, wifing… You name it. Lying in bed in the dark makes everything look darker! Somewhere around 4 AM, I decided to at least read the Scripture for our Bible study this coming week.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

All I could do before this Righteous High Priest, was ask for mercy and grace, because I was in the middle of a time of need…big time! Help! Forgive! Have mercy! I didn’t immediately fall asleep, but eventually, around 5:30 AM, sleep came.

Later that morning at church, GOD ministered mercy and grace to me in many ways. Hugs from friends who knew nothing about my struggles, a morning with grandchildren who incidentally, behaved well in church, the opportunity to serve in small ways during the service, and participated in the Lord’s supper. After, we had lunch together. It was truly a lovely morning.

But most of all, as one of our pastors opened up GOD’s Word, this was one of the piercing questions: What does GOD think of you (a person who is in Christ)? Yes, he loves you, but does He like you? The night before, I rehearsed all the reasons GOD would look at me and not like me! I didn’t like me! Why would He? He is perfect. He is holy. Of course, He wouldn’t like me!

But all those things on the list the night before were lies….bold-faced lies!

The situation is that the Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit enjoy a joyful, passionate relationship with each other that is full of the essence of who they are: love, righteousness, justice, goodness, purity and holiness…to name a few. All their attributes are in perfect balance. They are already in relationship with each other within the GODhead. It is not a theoretical idea. When we are joined to Jesus and are  “in Christ”, we become part of that relationship.

Yes, Jesus loves & likes you! He brings you to the joyful relationship of the Trinity as His beloved child. Click To Tweet

It is like coming home to a family that loves us to the core. They already know the worst about us, and still love us. Yes, Jesus came to earth to enter into that mess with us. That is part of what happened when He was baptized by John the Baptist. It was His way of entering into our humanity, muck and all!

Yes, He lived a perfect life and died for us to pay for our sin, taking on the eternal punishment that GOD required. But before He could do that, He had to take on the human condition and enter into what it was like to be fully human, as well as fully GOD. Only He knows how hard it is to resist sin…every time! He sympathizes with the fact that we often give into it. That doesn’t make it ok. He just understands how hard it is. It is even more difficult than we realize to stand up to temptation every.single.time!

How does He see us now that we are in Christ? We still don’t live out our perfect standing before Him in terms of our justification, perfectly. Doesn’t He get to a point where He is fed up with our performance as Christians?

Now that we are in Christ, our standing in Christ is not only perfect because our sin is paid for, but He can say to the other members of the Trinity when we stand there, “This is my beloved child. Welcome to this joyful, relationship we have, Martha! You are accepted into the group based on what I did for you.”

It is the opposite of my high school years of not fitting in, never being picked for any athletic teams, being pushed away because I was a nuisance, being shut out, even made fun of. It is being welcomed into the inner circle of the most important people not only in the world, but in the universe!

  • Why do I put devotions into a place of checking off a list of something to do and be done with? It minimizes that time so much. How can I make it into something that maximizes the relationship? I need to think about that.
  • Why do I fritter away time on TV or useless, time-wasting habits instead redeeming it for His glory?
  • Why do I look at the outsides of people instead of paying attention to their hearts that seek after GOD or recognizing they are having similar struggles I do in feeling and understanding who I am in Christ?
  • Why do I harden my heart to the needs of others around me who are much more in need than I am?

One reason is because I don’t truly understand who I am in Christ. I am His beloved daughter, accepted into His inner circle. He is rejoicing over me with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are delighting in the way they have created me. Each time I am being or doing something that brings them glory, they delight in it! They sing loud songs about it.

When I am discouraged or struggling over sin, they quiet me with their love and come to save me. This is a beautiful picture to me. I am not left alone to struggle. They are there with me! Hallelujah!

Putting the lesson learning succinctly is found here:

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

Blessings today as you grow, along with me, in relationship with GOD…Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in Christ our Savior. I’m learning slowly to see GOD as a Father who looks on me with delight and enjoys my uniqueness, my quirks and grieves with me when I struggle though hard times including sin and failure. Only Jesus has been able to make this relationship happen!

Of all the things I have to learn as a Christian, this is one of the hardest to believe. I know the truth in my head. I tell it to people all the time. But preaching the gospel to myself? It is much harder. Especially when those voices start repeating lies to me. It is so hard to believe that GOD would delight in me. I don’t perform well enough. I’m not supposed to.

 

**In order to hear this helpful sermon in context, click here. I definitely don’t want to misrepresent it. Thank you Ron Clegg for an encouraging Word from GOD today.