“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
― C.S. Lewis
Christianity, if I’m gentle, open and patient with myself, is not deprivation, though it can feel like that. There’s so much out there about sacrifice, giving, denying oneself, going above and beyond. This happens, true enough, but it’s because we’re spurred on to good works because of God’s love for us. When I become harsh with myself. God’s not doing that. I am. I’m practicing a works-based faith. I’m not letting God work through me. Many times a day I fall into this trap. Oh, Babs, you’re not doing enough, tithing enough, giving enough, loving enough. You? Paul so emphatically said: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” I think we are set free to do good works for ourselves and others. But first we need to deconstruct our old ideas of what Christianity truly is.
Christianity is deconstructing shame, perfectionism, judgmental-ism. It’s sweeping away critical voices, legalistic voices, especially the abusive ones. No more naval gazing. It’s throwing out destructive and unrealistic comparisons. And it’s painful. We cling to these old images because, at least, they’re familiar. God does not define us by this. We do. And it’s very destructive. It’s not good fruit. His Son stepped in and removed our shame, whether we realize this in our soul or not. He said he’d never leave us. He calls us beloved. This motivates us to change, an upward calling, rather than suppressing and living in old images, thoughts and ideas of ourselves
God kicks out love denied. He covers us with his feathers. Everyone wants and needs love. The Great I Am designed us to give and receive love. It is never found by our old ways, our human efforts. Slowly and painfully, the decision to move toward something better or run away happens, sometimes many times a day. Let’s move toward our Father.
We are children of God, that’s who we are. His children. Children are curious, playful, honest and vulnerable. God knows this since he made us. Remember, we become like little children to enter the Kingdom of God. I don’t know about you but becoming like little children really resonates with me. The nighttime sky. A rambunctious and loving pet. Swimming in a stream. Riding a bike. Homemade ice cream. Fireworks. An uplifting Bible story. We have a new image. A new creature. Children. What a blessing!
May you love yourself by celebrating this new creation. May you love yourself as a child, especially when dealing with a mistake or heartache. How do you treat a child in a difficult circumstance? You soothe, nurture, comfort, LISTEN, guide and embrace. Patience IS a virtue.
Who am I to believe? Society? Others? Politicians? Or God who said new things have come. Past tense. I’m new. I’m a beloved child. He’s my heavenly Father. You are too.
Father, thank you that we are wonderfully made. We are new creations with freedom to move, breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). Help me to dwell in this marvelous newness. Revel in our childlikeness. Help us to see your will being placed into this complicated and evil world. Nothing is too small or insignificant. Help me to celebrate being a child, your child.