Thursday, March 23, 2017

What it says.....

At the beginning of this year I downloaded a Bible reading plan that would take me through a good portion of the Bible. I have loved following this plan daily because it has met me in the most astounding ways with what is going on in my life. That can only be God and it's been nothing short of amazing.

This morning I read John 15. While one particular part struck me very squarely between the eyes, there is also a practical application from another verse that inserted itself into a situation this morning.

A couple days ago I wrote about my car needing a safety recall for the passenger side airbag. Today was the big day to get this fixed.  No one was happier than my 13 year old so he can stop being a backseat driver. Every since he got promoted to the front seat when all four of us aren't in the car, having to sit in the backseat feels quite like a demotion to him. And just so you know, it's not inaccurate to label him a backseat driver by any stretch. He who has no license feels free to critique anyone behind the wheel.

That said, while my car was getting fixed the dealership called to tell me that I had a brake light out. I knew this might be technically true, but wasn't likely totally true, because my husband had just replaced both bulbs recently. I declined the service, and sure enough, the bulb just needed tightening.

That loose bulb made me think about what I had read this morning.  John 15:5 says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." The problem with my bulb wasn't that it didn't work, it just simply wasn't attached fully to the source it needed to operate properly. 

It seems to me that I often kid myself about just how much I need Jesus to go about my day. I think I can manage some things without Him and will only bother Him with the important stuff, the big stuff, the heavy decisions. But this verse clearly states apart from Him I can do nothing. And the last time I checked, nothing meant nothing.

I can't be the best wife, the best mom, the best friend, the best steward, or the best of anything He calls me to be or do without Him as my power source. And I don't mean the best in a competetive or comparitive way, I just simply mean doing or performing any of my roles with excellence instead of mediocrity. In all the time I've been following Him, He's never once said Just to do the best you can and don't worry about it. That just isn't His thing. What He says is, Do it like you're working for Me and trust that I'll fill in the gaps. Big difference if you stop and think about it. For me to do the best I can, I determine my effort based on my perceived ability. Doing it like I'm working for Him lays it all on the line.

But that wasn't the part that struck me squarely between the eyes. John 15:10 says, "If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in His love." The part that stood out.....If you keep my commands, you will remain in My love. Do you know what it doesn't say? Earn. Deserve. Acquire. Gain. Merit. Be worthy of. Do you know what else it doesn't say? If you don't keep my commands, you will lose My love.

I'm not a theologian by any stretch, but I've been around long enough to have realized that we remain in God's love when we keep His commands because we don't hide from Him like Adam and Eve did when they didn't. We allow our sin to separate us from Him because we get too caught up in what we think He sees when He looks at us and the assumption that we've disappointed Him with our behavior. He's given us access to approach the throne of grace with confidence to find mercy because He would much rather we admit our faults and sins than run and hide.

There are definitely times when I don't feel worthy of God's love. I can be short tempered, judgemental, and as selfish as a typical 2 year old. But just because I don't feel worthy of His love does not mean that He sees me as unworthy of it. 

If it's true that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, that doesn't make me someone to avoid, that makes me someone to relentlessly pursue. I don't need to look further than the cross to understand that. Don't let the whispers of Satan that tell you that you aren't good enough. Quite frankly, you're worth dying for and Jesus is waiting for you at the cross.

Lord, You always know just what I need to hear, see, or experience, to make your point stick. Even something as simple as a brake light is powerful in Your hands. I can never thank You enough for finding me wherever I am and making sure I know how much You love me. Help me cling to You, to remain in Your love, and to run to You, not from You, at all times.  Amen.

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