“I can’t do it. I’m not good enough.” I wonder how often we’ve said this to ourselves, or even to God?
The athlete, to win the race, must train, continually. The champion must hone his skills to remain champion. The successful businessman must keep ahead of the opposition to win contracts and customers. It seems that no one wins or succeeds without effort.
So where is it with us and God?
‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (Isaiah 40:31). ‘Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). It appears that strength in the Lord may be the answer.
We’ve tried, but our strength is weak. Often, we falter at the last hurdle. We know our own heart, and our doubts and self-criticism when we let God down. We know we can never make it on our own. Yes, there is Jesus. He went before us to show the way. He died in our place. He achieved for us a reward greater than we can even imagine. But often the joy of the Lord, which should be our strength, is missing.
It doesn’t depend on us. It’s not dependent on our ability to put into practice the instructions of God. We don’t have to strive for perfection in our own strength. Jesus has done it for us. To ‘stand firm in the faith’ is to hold firmly to the promises of God. If we could do it ourselves or make it on our own, there would be no need for the cross.
Imagine we are deeply loved by someone we respect and admire; someone who says, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or thought, or what negative attitudes you are carrying. What needed to be done has been done. I did it for you. I did it because I love you, more than you can ever dream of, and I want you to be with me always. I love you, just as you are.” That’s Jesus: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’
We need to stop judging ourselves and start looking to Him who made it possible for us to have a relationship with God Himself. God is like a loving father saying to his son or daughter, “I love you because you are mine.” Then comes our part. We need to believe it, accept it, receive it, rest in it and respond to it. That’s where our strength lies. That’s what we hold on to. And we discover that, as we reach out to Him, feelings of unworthiness and self-criticism fade away. We’ve nothing to prove. He’s done it all. Let us not throw away the crown of glory, because the King has won it for us and wants us to wear it.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for lifting the weight of guilt from my shoulders. Thank You that You have taken my unrighteousness and are transforming me into Your likeness. I look to You now, with a grateful and thankful heart, because of Your love for me. I know nothing can separate me from that love and now I can stop striving and begin receiving. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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