If you were raised anything like I was raised, with two parents who loved you, then you might be able to relate to what I am going to write tonight.
We are children of God, being adopted by Him through faith in Jesus Christ.
Why do we try nearly endlessly to please Him? Why do we try nearly endlessly to make ourselves “better”? Will we be more a part of His family if we succeed?
I have written a few posts recently about striving, and I fear some have misunderstood my meanings. I won’t explain striving in any great length tonight, but I will stress the fact that we are already members of God’s family. Having said that, let it be understood that striving isn’t the means through which we become a part of God’s family, or even the means by which we become more a part of God’s family. Striving is a means by which we accomplish what we set out to do, be it at work, at play, or in spiritual learning.
If we set out to learn something, we will have to strive for it. In the case of spiritual growth, that striving doesn’t earn us God’s pleasure. It earns us nothing but the fulfillment to do everything we do as if we are doing it for the Lord. And even our striving has been provided for us by Him. So then we know there is nothing we do that has not been generated by God, including our striving at anything.
But to get back to the point of this post, if you had two parents who loved you, or even one, or even a “family”, did you have to try really hard to be a part of it? Or were you already accepted the moment you were born?
I will not speak of those families where abuses occur, because the actions of the abusers have destroyed the family, and thus, the abused must seek a new family. But may I venture to say that if our birth family is either accepting of us or not, neither is the world? And since we are all descended from Adam, we are all a part of a much larger family, one in which we did nothing except to be born, in order to belong.
Having said that, we can all honestly say in some forms that in the larger family through Adam, we have been abused, and sought a new family. Through grace, we have been adopted into that new family, and just as we did nothing except be born into Adam’s family, we also did nothing except be adopted into God’s family.
There is one major difference of course…….God chose us.
Listen, when you are chosen, you are wanted. Not for what you have accomplished, because none of us have ever accomplished anything that made us worthy to see God’s Son slaughtered for our sake. Rather, you are chosen because God in His mercy wants you near.
So we make mistakes, and we choose wrongly, and we punish ourselves, because we think that is what is necessary. Yet even if we do that, still, we are accepted into God’s family. So why do we act as if we have to be better tomorrow than we were today? In fact, why do we believe we have to be progressing in faith?
I do not believe we have to. I believe it is up to God to complete that work of progression within us. I believe our sole action in this world is to respond. And how do we respond? By accepting God’s good favor upon us.
Through that acceptance then, we will learn through God a better way of living. We will learn freedom. And we will learn love.
And the heart that is loved and knows it is the only heart where “obedience" isn’t an effort, but a natural response to any circumstance.
Have you accepted the FACT that you belong yet?