“So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s One and only Son.” (John 1:14 NLT) “For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 NLT) In these two scriptures alone, the disciple John gives us the reality of God’s secret plan for redemption. He gave us the law, which He knew we could never keep, to show us His holy standards. The next thing you know, He sends His son, Jesus, to fulfill the law perfectly. He did this to offer us the chance to be made right with the Father if we accept His sacrifice. God gave me rules and asked me not to break them, knowing I would anyway. Then, Jesus took my human walk and punishment on Himself to make me perfect in the sight of God. He went right everywhere I have and will go wrong. He then turns and gives me His trophy as if I had earned it myself! Wow! Does this blow anyone else’s mind? It’s the best news ever! This shows how much He wants to be in relationship with us. All He asks of us is to love Him and love others. How simple! But oh, how we’ve complicated it!
God literally requires nothing of me but at the same time, desires all of me. He desires my attention. He desires my friendship. He wants to be included in decision making. He wants to be part of the day-to-day routine. Just pure fellowship. Then why do we humans say things like “Well, you have to do this or that for God to approve of you?” We get so accustomed to being task oriented that we put that mentality on the Lord. We feel the need to check off the boxes to keep God happy. Went to church. Check! Prayed. Check! Read my Bible. Check! The list goes on and on. These things are fine if carried out with the right motive but they cannot be a substitute for a relationship with Jesus. He died to set us free and we’re the ones trying to perform to earn His acceptance. He already desires us. He wants to be our desire. He does not want ministry carried out with wrong motives. It’s all about our “want to.” It’s never about our “have to.”
My favorite example in the Bible of someone just being sold out for Jesus comes from the book of John chapter 21. Jesus had already been crucified and was making appearances to people to show He had indeed risen from the dead. Several disciples, including Peter, were fishing. Jesus appears on the shore and they didn’t know it was Him at first. Once they realized it, Peter jumped into the water and headed for shore. He abandoned his friends, the boat, the catch, everything! Peter just wanted to get to Jesus. Peter knew what it was like to be forgiven and set free since only days earlier he had denied the Lord like Jesus said he would. Peter had a “want to!” Once again, the Lord clarifies His forgiveness towards Peter in a conversation. Shouldn’t it be this way? Shouldn’t God’s love for us provoke us to want to be with Him? He’s the One who made me just like I am. Quirks and all! I so want to sit at the feet of this lover of my soul and find out all that He desires for me. He has the answers. Not social media, not the news and not even family and friends. He is the answer! He’s Almighty God, the friend of sinners, just like me.
King David understood this. Psalm 139:23-24 says “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” He had a relationship with the Lord. King David lived when they had to try to keep the law, but he understood that this God he served was more interested in his heart. He didn’t want to offend the Lord with wrong motives or actions. Oh yes, David messed up just like all the other human beings to ever live. But, David didn’t want to. He also acknowledged that life truly comes from knowing God. Not knowing about God. Knowing Him! Two separate issues altogether.
Even as I write this, I long to know the heart of the Lord. There’s turmoil in my soul because of the wanting to sit face to face with Him and inquire all about life. Oh how little we know! This world is so hard. I don’t want to keep up with whether or not I’ve checked off my “religious boxes.” I just want to know Him. How about you? Are you requiring perfect performance for acceptance or are you desiring to walk freely with Him?
Today’s writer is Brandi Crowe. A hairdresser for over 25 years, she is currently the owner of Brandi Crowe salon in Buford, GA. She loves hiking, a good cup of coffee and spending time with family and friends. Brandi lives in a custom farmhouse with her husband, Robby and cat, Harold.