December 28, 2017
Replace “Trying Harder” with “Loving More”
Friend to Friend
Two of Satan’s greatest weapons against Christian women today are shame and condemnation. He knows that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and His work of redemption in your life, you are deeply loved, completely forgiven, thoroughly cleansed, eternally saved, fully pleasing, and totally accepted by God. All he can do is try and convince you it isn’t true. He can do nothing to make you unclean. All he can do is to make you feel unclean. And if you believe his lies of shame, then back into the bushes you’ll go. Hiding with Adam and Eve as God walks and calls out, “Where are you?”
We all fail God. We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God, of what He intended us to do and be in the Garden. But here’s God’s promise: “If we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9, parentheses added).
What do you do when you fail God? If you’re like me, after I have repented and asked forgiveness, my natural tendency is to tell God that I’ll try harder next time. Try harder. Is that really the solution? Do I really need to buck it up and try harder? I wonder if that is what Jesus would say.
On the contrary, Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching,” (John 14:23). Anyone loves me…will obey my teaching. Perhaps the solution to our tendency to disobey God is not trying harder, but loving more. Perhaps an intimate relationship with Jesus, one in which we live and move and have our being in Him in every aspect of life, is key to obedience. When we love deeply, we are more likely to cling to Him closely.
Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him. He doesn’t humiliate, berate, or criticize us. Rather He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him.
“Do you love me?” Jesus asked Peter three times.
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” (John 21:15-17).
No more questions.
It’s hard for us to understand. Sometimes grace just doesn’t make sense.
Jesus, I affirm my love for You today. Yes, Lord, I loveYyou. Convict me when I’m trying harder to perform well, but neglecting to love more. Thank You for loving me even when I mess up.
In Your Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
What did Jesus pray for Simon?
Has failure ever caused your faith to fail?
What did Jesus predict in the last sentence of the verse.
What did Jesus want Peter to do after he turned back?
What is God saying to you in these verses?
More from the Girlfriends
Are you sitting on the bench when it comes to your spiritual journey? It could be that God is calling you to get back in the game. Don’t let past mistakes put you on the sidelines. God sure doesn’t. To learn more about how to accept God’s forgiveness and use your past as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block, check out my book Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past.