Friday, April 27, 2012

no strings attached.

inspiration: jonny's wrap-up of the Unbound series.

last night, jonny sharp brought a powerful word at theWell.
we've been studying through the book of Romans for almost a year now (i think tomorrow will be one-year, actually) and we're in .... *drumroll* Chapter 6! which is awesome, but means we'll be done in approximately another year and a half :P

but last night was powerful. it brought me to a realization of a lot of things in my spiritual life that i needed to be reminded of.

(completely unrelated side note)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" -Romans 3:23
Sin entered the world through Adam.
Because of sin, we have pain.
and brokenness.
and death.

We can look anywhere in the world and in our lives and see this.
We struggle with relationships.
and finances.
and health.
all of it.

Sin keeps us from enjoying God in His fullness - we're separated from Him because of sin (Romans 3:23).

But we can rejoice in the fact that God loves us SO much that He sent Jesus to reconcile our sin.
He was the propitiation for our sin - He took away the sin and with it, the wrath of God. Because of Jesus, we have nothing separating us from God. NOTHING.

There is no sin.
No wrath.
No condemnation.

"If the only thing God did for us was to send Jesus to die for our sins, it still would've been more than we deserve" -Jonny

But in the second part of the verse, we see the word free.

We've all (hopefully) experienced the joy of getting something for free.
Something we don't deserve.

I remember at Christmas growing up, I always asked for Gameboy games (is my nerd showing??). At the time, this was a huge deal - Gameboy games were expensive! And there was also two years in my childhood when I asked for new Gameboys - The Color and the Gameboy Advanced! Whoa! Now, those were big splurges!! But both years, I got those Gameboys. Did I "deserve" them? Probably not - I'm sure there were times where I was a bratty kid to my parents. There were probably times that I hurt them, said mean things to them out of bratty rebellion. Granted, I didn't burn any buildings down or punch babies or kick kittens or something, but the budget was always tight, Gameboys/games/accessories were expensive - but my parents' love exceeded the monetary value of those things.

God's love far surpasses that!
I can always pay my parents back for the things they've given me.
But I can never repay God.

"You can never do anything to make God be more pleased with you than He is right now." -Jonny

The thing that hit home for me was that there is nothing I can do to earn God's love.
His love for me existed far before I was born, it exists more now than it ever has, and will continue to exist.

I've got to be honest though: I still try to earn God's love; I still try to prove that I deserve it.
Am I alone in this??

I try to read my Bible daily.
I try to take time to pray and thank God for all He has given me.
I go to theWell on Thursdays.
I go to church on Saturdays.
I lead a Bible study.
I volunteer.
I give.

Sometimes it becomes more of a chore than something I rejoice in.
I feel like I'm obligated to do these things because if I don't, it will somehow make God think less of me.
Or if I'm being even more honest, I'm afraid it will make other people think that I don't love God.
It becomes more about me and my pride than my relationship with Christ - and that's even worse than not doing those things at all!

I can never be good enough for God.
I never will be.

But remember that word "free" - it means just that!!
It means that God sent Jesus to die for me: no strings attached.

I can rejoice in that, for sure!

Are you like me in that you try and earn God's grace and love?

also, the fact that Jonny made a reference to Office Space.....hilarious!

"...I'm going to burn down the building"
"I...I...I believe you have my stapler..."

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