Living in a harmonious relationship with God is the greatest goal to which we can aspire.
And here is the good news.
God offers us that relationship, and He offers it as a gift.
We do not earn gifts, nor do we offer to pay for them.
In fact, the relationship God and I share will be skewed if I am determined to earn His gift of grace.
When I became a Christian, God ascribed to me the merit Jesus earned by living a perfect life and dying a perfect death in my place.
At that point, the transaction was done.
I love to sing the song that declares: I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt He did not owe.
Sadly, some Christians, especially those who grew up in critical and judgmental environments, live in fear that God will withdraw that gift the instant they sin.
My friend Jan calls this “windshield wiper salvation.” You’re in. You’re out. You’re in. You’re out.
As a child, even I, raised in a loving, nurturing home, virtually trembled in the pew when we sang the old hymn: There’s an All-Seeing Eye Watching You.
But today, I put my trust in the words of 1 John 1:7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
My relationship with God is a walk, not a performance.
During this walk, I will stumble sometimes and even fall. But, if I am walking in the light, God will never desert me.
God calls us to enjoy a rich, full life, free from guilt and confident of our salvation.
I hang on to the words of Romans 8:1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
To new Christians and to unnecessarily guilt-ridden, long-time Christians, I offer the following words.
Live as if you have been forgiven, pardoned, redeemed, and saved because you have been.
When you pray, do not re-confess sins that were forgiven years ago. God is convinced of your sorrow over the lie you told or the sexual indiscretion you indulged in or the disrespectful attitude you showed toward your parents.
When God forgives you, forgive yourself. In doing this, you honor Him by showing you trust His grace to be enough.
Instead of spending your time in prayer bringing up past, forgiven sins, thank God for the wonderful new life He has given you in Christ.
Tell Him specifically what is going on inside your head and your heart. Talk to Him about everything.
If your heart is filled with sorrow, pour out that sadness to God.
If you are mad at someone, tell God the details.
Do you think He doesn’t already know about these things?
Acknowledge your agreement that His ways are right, His laws are for your protection, and it is your intention to stay on the path He laid out for you.
As you walk with God, speak every secret of your life into His listening ear with confidence that He will understand, forgive, and bless.
Make your life a celebration of the unity you enjoy with God through Christ.