my pastor said in a sermon a few weeks ago that if you fear man more than God it'll lead you to sin. right away i knew this was deeply profound but i didn't really grasp it until just now- after many hours of contemplating and praying for wisdom to understand this truth. it led me to survey my past and reflect on all the times i regrettably fell into sin, all the people i hurt along the way, and the reasons why. in addition to fearing man, i was more concerned about pleasing them over God. it actually makes me incredibly sad to think about how delusional i was for getting it so twisted. i was desperately searching for approval and acceptance that is first, foremost and ultimately only found in God. my quest for love was always diminished by my many failed attempts to find it. i still believe my desires and intentions were pure and genuine but my character and state of mind didn't match up. the main problem was i tragically believed i wasn't deserving of such radical and extravagant love. i settled and i paid for it. i'm probably still paying for it.
i was talking to sis this week about j and how much i don't deserve him or the love that he shows me. she immediately corrected me and said of course i do, but after all the wrong that i've done i thought i was right to feel this way. maybe it was false humility or gratefulness masked in self pity, but the Lord began to speak to me this morning on my commute to work about how i am still believing a lie and it's not ok. He took away everything in me that is so undeserving and unworthy when He died on the cross- once and for all. there is no glory in punishing myself when His blood is more than sufficient to wipe away and destroy all the ugliness inside of me. despite my refusing to take hold of it, He deems me worthy and says i was made for love. this kind of revelation just wrecks me and i'm so tempted to crawl back in that place where i just keep rejecting Him b/c i don't merit His favor and affections. but i'm not going to do that anymore b/c that's what has always led me off track. instead i'm going to joyfully receive and accept His love and thank Him forever and ever.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork,created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.