“But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old letter of of the law.” Romans 7:6
Have you ever wondered how God felt about you? Have you ever dreaded the expression on His face as you grovel at His feet again, asking for forgiveness one more time. How could you let Him down again?
I spent a good part of my Christian walk feeling like this.
My dad was a military man. He loved me as much as his flesh could.
He just wanted to provide a good life for us.
He didn’t mean to put work before his family.
What if he did the best that he could?
See, none of us can love right without the Father’s love washing over us.
My later teenage years left me with a giant-sized void, that I attempted to fill with the world.
My God, in those years, was distant and unapproachable. Abraham Lincoln sitting stiff in his chair is what came to mind. I certainly didn’t think of Him as a loving father that was well pleased with me.
The Bible was just a book with a bunch rules and laws I could never keep, with people I could never measure up to.
In my early twenties I made a new commitment to God. I was going to do this Christian thing for real. Reading my Bible in the wee hours, fasting, and working in the church were the commitments I made to my Heavenly Father.
I quickly found my human zeal was not enough.
At 27 years of age, I felt like one big spiritual failure. I was pretty sure God felt that way too. All I could see was anger and disappointment in His face.
I was failing.
Failing at prayer. Failing at witnessing. Failing at this parenting thing. Most of all, failing at pleasing the God I loved so much.
I was a spiritual failure. I never seemed to measure up.
Most nights I went to bed frustrated.
My guilt and failure was all I could see. All my human efforts kept me from real love…love that never failed…love that would kiss away my guilt and shame. A love that would keep me from struggling to reach for works and self-righteousness.
How do you ask Him to answer your prayers when you don’t measure up?
How can you walk in all that God has for you when your efforts are not enough?
Then one day, my guilt and failures collided with this love.
One single verse exploded in my soul from the story of the prodigal son story. In that moment, the Holy Spirit awakened me to the Father’s love.
And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. Luke 15:20
Through the prodigal’s father we get a glimpse of the heart of Father God.
In spite of all my failures, in spite of all the times I messed up my Heavenly Father is moved with affection toward me.
He wasn’t far and distant.
He was there along, reaching for me, longing to embrace me and say, “You’re doing a good job. I am well pleased with you. I love the way you want to make me happy. I love the way you laugh. You move me!”
Hot tears of guilt and shame are kissed away. My bleeding wounds, from an earthly father who didn’t know how to love were healed in a single moment.
Forgiveness for my earthly father came flooding in….overtaking me. Moved with compassion to love him in a way he could never love.
His love seeps into all the hurting wounds.
The breath of the Spirit brings life to those dead barren places.
Let Him heal you.
His blood is enough.
Seeing the splendor of God compels us toward holiness, not the law apart from love.
When lies begin to whisper louder than truth, say out loud: ” I do His will because He delights in me.”
“Oh, that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is more delightful than wine. The fragrance of your perfume is intoxicating; your name is perfume is poured out.” Song of Songs 1:2-3
It’s this love that keeps us walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh! It’s this love that keeps us coming back to Him…ruined for anything else this world may give.
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