As You Are
I think it's important for me to tell you something today. Lean in. This is vital.
Do you know how much you are loved? As you are. You are loved.
There. I said it.
Now, I know you probably don't really believe that it's true. If you're anything like me, you have a long list of the things you'd like to change about yourself. You'd like different hair, smaller pants, fewer wrinkles, less flabby arms, bigger biceps. Ok, just some biceps. I'd also like to be more compassionate, less stubborn, and a lot more like Jesus in general. And in the middle of perusing the list, we find ourselves wishing it was all different. Looking at who we are and thinking we're not enough.
And shame sets in.
That dark cloud of shame fogs our understanding of who (and whose) we really are.
I understand that we are struggling and have made some choices that have led us to this point that we're not real proud of. But you need to know this: you don't have to live with the shame anymore.
When I start to equate my worth and value with how I'm measuring up on that list, it's a sure entrance for shame.
It's a little confusing because I know that I should be looking more and more like Christ. Philippians 2:5 tells me that my attitude should be just like Jesus'. The problem occurs when I start to think the measure of my looking like Jesus is directly related to what God thinks about me or worse yet, how forgiven I am by God.
In my Doctrine of Grace seminary class with Dr. Jack Cottrell, I was introduced to something that changed my perspective. He called it the "Double Cure." I've renamed it the "Triple Cure" and have added another line that I think is important to our understanding of our value and worth in the eyes of God.
Check it out:
The bottom line is your life.
The blue line shows that you have been 100% loved by God since the day you were born. Really it was before that. When God knit you together in your mother's womb, He loved you. Romans 5:8 tells us
"God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Before you chose Jesus, God loved you. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make Him love you less. You could fail at the plan you're working right now and God would still love you just the same.
The orange line shows that when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you were immediately 100% forgiven. And that never changes. Your percentage of forgiveness doesn't change based on your sin. Romans 8:1 says,
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." NONE. You are forgiven. Jesus did the work and it is finished.
The green line represents our sanctification. That's just a fancy word for showing our progress in becoming like Jesus. You'll notice the line is up and down and a little all over the place. We fall and fail. We make progress and then take steps back. That's what becoming like Jesus is like. It's a process. A journey filled with ups and downs.
The problem is that we mistake the blue and orange lines for the green one. We start to think God loves us according to how holy we are or that we are forgiven based on how much we look like Jesus. This lie is one of the greatest tactics of the enemy. He's the thief who wants to steal, kill, and destroy so he's going to mix it up as much as he can.
Your growth journey belongs on the green line. Surrendering idols to Jesus helps you become more like Him. Remember, though, it doesn't affect the blue or orange lines at all.
Until I understood this, I just spun my wheels with this issue.
You see, until last year I always thought if I would lose weight I would be more acceptable--to God and others. If I could just be more organized I would be more adequate. If I could just be more, I believed that I would be more lovable, more affirmed, more fun, more (insert your own word here...). Until I knew Jesus loved me as I am, I was chasing after my own worth--something I would never be able to find on my own outside of Jesus.
Want to know the truth? You are loved. Just as you are.
My prayer for you today is that you will believe it and live as though it is true.
This post is an excerpt from the Freedom Tastes Better Challenge devotional. You can receive these devotionals in your inbox through the month of January by subscribing. Make sure to check the "Freedom Tastes Better" box. Check out more about the challenge here.