For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14
If you have spent anytime around Christians or in a Christian Church you know that there is a constant tension that exists between knowing that God has redeemed us based solely on God’s own choice to do so through Jesus and wanting/being told that we need to honor that God with a pious life.
To put it another way; “Does God love me just as I am or do I need prove that I am redeemed by being pure?”
The answer is “yes”, “no”, and if these are your questions then you are missing the point.
God does love you just as you are and out of that love gives you the freedom to leave habits, myths, and religious trappings behind so that you can experience the joy of being in relationship with God.
Think about a relationship you have with someone who you are really close with, someone you love. You think of ways to bless that person and want to honor them out of gratitude for the love that they have shown you. When you love them you don’t make decisions based out of fear of punishment or banishment. Your love for them persuades you to display your love for them through your actions and words which are never burdensome.
This is what God desires of us. God has shown us love through Jesus and that love is available everyday that we wake up. We, out of our gratitude, and growing love for God strive to live in a manner that displays our affection for God. It is not a “I better do this or I will be smote” relationship.
Is it easy to live this way? No. Here is the beauty of the relationship. We can ask God to help us where we are weak. there is forgiveness every day for us as we repent and the gift of strength to overcome our weakness when we ask.
If there is one wrinkle in all this it is that we forget to ask or we think that we can’t ask, because we forgot lesson number one. GOD LOVES YOU!
If you are struggling with something, like forgiving someone, releasing a regret, or putting an end to your judgmental attitude take it to God in prayer. How? Say, “God I want to forgive, but I need your help.”
It isn’t fancy. If you need to put in a “thou” in there go right ahead, but know that if you mean what you ask, as in you are making a heart-felt request, the way it is said doesn’t matter.
My prayer for you today is that you will be liberated from fear, anxiety, and darkness by the power of God’s love that is Jesus.