Have you ever thought that you needed to stop something to start something better? Hobbies and projects come to mind—you only have so much time in the day, money to invest, space to work. Any number of things can delay the process of moving from simply watching woodworking videos online to running an actual woodworking shop out of your garage.
Working with students for several years has revealed to me that there are similar misconceptions in our faith. I’m reminded of a time when we had a discussion in our small group about Saul’s conversion to Paul. We broke down grievances against Saul—violence, persecution, false imprisonments, murder. I told the guys, “Saul became Paul, and was used for great things by God.” And I was met with outrage. The uproar revolved around what Paul deserved and what we deserve. We try really hard not to sin, try to do the right things, to dedicate everything to God—we deserve to be in His good graces, right?
Honestly, there are times where I feel the same way. We want to earn our salvation ourselves—as if we are a crucial aspect of salvation. God’s Word tells us differently. The theme of Salvation is not that we need to sin less. Rather, when we surrender ourselves to loving more, we unleash the Holy Spirit to transform our desires, and, as a result, we are compelled less frequently to indulge our sinful nature.
God’s love doesn’t wait for us to catch up. Countless times in the Bible, the Lord arrives to people or communities who are fully in their sin, and Jesus frequently traveled out of His way to meet them right at their time of true need, and at their worst. Jesus isn’t afraid to love you exactly where you are today; He is proud to see how you let Him work in your life to love those around you.
In what areas of your life or family have you elevated yourself to being a crucial component of God’s promise? Spend some time in Romans 5:1-11 and reflect on the humble place that God meets us and gives us everything we need before we ask. Pray today and ask God to reveal areas that He has been faithful in providing, and have Him challenge you to surrender control and to accept the loving care of the Father in every area of your life.