If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I have three crazy kids, and they do really crazy stuff…I remember, when my youngest, Annabelle, was just a toddler, I took all three kids to the park. I was on the phone with my bride Lynn, and before I knew what was happening, I looked up and my son Obadiah was about to push Annabelle down the slide backwards.
I was freaked out, but not as much as Lynn was when I told her over the phone. Through the phone speakers, Mom’s voice shouted loud enough for the kids to hear it, “NO!” Obadiah stopped right away and looked really sheepish….After I finished freaking out, the whole thing was super funny.
But it got me thinking. Annabelle was truly not ready in that instance…She was so tiny, and she would have hurt herself if Obadiah would have sent her wheeling down the slide with no control of her body…In some instances, a healthy level of caution (like Lynn’s) keeps us or our kids safe in situations out of our depth.
But then there’s other times where we got locked into a sort of thinking that goes way beyond caution and ends up somewhere else we never want to live….fear.
At face value, caution and fear might appear similar, but they’re actually two completely different qualities. Caution is self-control that keeps us flourishing in the limits and boundaries God designed for us. Fear, at its root, is distrust of God.Fear is distrust of God. Click To Tweet
The crazy thing is, so often fear is actually what dominates our relationships with God, and I can prove it to you.
The last time you messed up, what was your first response? Did you go immediately to God, repent, and then let go of what happened and move forward?
Yeah, me neither.
So often what I catch myself doing is mentally beating myself up before repenting, or even after asking God for forgiveness, I continue to condemn myself.
Most of us do this all the time, but you know what? Trust in God doesn’t drive that kind of thinking…fear does. When we really trust God, we can trust His redemption of us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. When we live in fear, we end up distrusting that the cross was enough, and we add extra steps to God’s redemptive work.
God only asks three things of us in redemption: we admit that we are broken and can’t fix ourselves; we trust that Jesus’s work on the cross is sufficient and complete for saving us; and then we walk with Jesus in love and obedience the rest of our lives.
Too often we think we need to wait to come to Jesus, whether it’s our first time ever or just the first time after we’ve made a mistake walking with him. When we wait to come to Jesus, we add the extra step of punishing ourselves before we receive forgiveness and new life in Christ… We believe we can’t ask Jesus for help until after we get our lives figured out or once we aren’t such a mess.
But when we do that, we miss one of the most important lessons Jesus came to teach us — He doesn’t wait for us to be perfect. He wants to meet us right where we are.Jesus is God literally meeting us right where we are. Click To Tweet
That’s what God did when He took on flesh and dwelt among us…Jesus is God at street-level; He’s God literally meeting us right where we are.
Jesus didn’t wait for us to come to Him. He meets us in our messes, and He wants to bring us into His perfection. That’s the heart of Jesus, and it should totally transform our hearts too…Because God meets us where we’re at, we can let go of the pressure we put on ourselves to keep on condemning ourselves when we mess up. We can accept God’s forgiveness and move forward into freedom.
And in turn, we can meet people right where they’re at and love them there. Who has God placed in your life to meet at their street level? Who are you supposed to love just as they are? Let’s love others and ourselves just as we are this week…by trusting that Jesus’s redemption of us is more than enough for anything else going on.