Love, grace, and freedom!!!

One of the consequences of having a low self-esteem is the tendency to be someone else, to behave in ways you never thought of. You try to be that person people would love and appreciate and want to be with. And at the end, you don’t know who you are, what you like, and what you want. You have become a people-pleaser and have ceased to be the person God intended you to be.

But God gave a remedy for that emotional and spiritual sickness as He did for all the other ones. When He sent Jesus to earth to bear our sins and shames and sicknesses; when Jesus chose to give His life for our healing, He offered us that remedy. He offered us reconciliation with the Father, the boldness to enter the throne room with confidence, the freedom to be ourselves even at our worst. Since He paid for us and gave us His righteousness, we can just be ourselves before God as we are being changed into Christ’s likeness. Yes, we are disciplined. Yes, our actions have consequences. But yes, they work for our good. And yes, God does not discipline us out of anger, but to make us share in His holiness.

It is not easy to accept that aspect of grace. Salvation, we get it. But the rest? Our past, our experiences, sometimes our parents and siblings, people around us, circumstances, etc.  cry that it is too easy. And we live as if God would be angry at our failures, and even at our differences; as if He would be mad at us every time we don’t do what He expects us to do, the way He expects us to do it. There is no place in our lives to be trained by God’s grace to become more like Christ. We should already be perfect. And that is not the worst. The worst is all the rules and regulations we have and apply in order to please God. In our mind, God can easily be that another person who would never accept us if we don’t behave in a certain way; if we are not a certain kind of person. We forgot that Jesus died for us when we were weak; when we were enemies of His Father. We forgot that He loved us first. We forgot that He pursued us before we even thought of loving Him.

But when we remember, when we accept this incredible grace, we are free. Free to be ourselves; free to just be because we are totally and completely welcomed and accepted in Christ.  And if the Ruler of the universe, the perfect and holy One, the One who judges and provides, the only One who matters accepts us, we can begin to stop trying to belong and to be loved at any cost. We still need fellowship and love and friendship and affection, but not at any cost anymore. Yes, it is not perfect. We still struggle with low self-esteem and acceptance, but now we know the truth that sets free and, more than ever, we are becoming that amazing person God created us to be.

And if you are not there, no worries. He is already there and will bring you there because it all depends on His power that is perfected in your weakness.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them… But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

(Ephesians 2: 4- 10; 13-22)

 

 

 

 

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A compassionate God

Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36 HCSB)

Some versions say “compassionate” instead of “merciful”. Being compassionate defines someone who has “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. ” And Being merciful is to provide relief.

What the verse above tells us is that when God sees us in our difficulties and sorrows, He wants to help us, comfort us, and soothe us. And because He is who He is; because He is not powerless, He does it: He provides us with relief. How does He give us that relief? Here is an example.

You certainly know the story of Gideon. God called him and sent him to fight against the Midianites. But he was afraid.  So God told him “Get up and go into the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go to the camp, go with Purah your servant. Listen to what they say, and then you will be strengthened to go to the camp.” (Judges 7 9-11 HCSB)

God felt a deep sympathy for him. God understood what He was going through. When Gideon went to the camp, he listened to a conversation that gave him courage. God reassured, strengthened him because he needed it. But God went further. He told him to go with his servant. He did not shame him for being afraid, but instead provided him with solutions.

And since God doesn’t show favoritism, there are no reasons it won’t do it for you, no reasons it won’t do it for me.

 

Blessed He is

served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:25)
To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:5)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (2 Corinthians 1:3)
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. (2 Corinthians 11:31)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3)

in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:11)

which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (1 Timothy 6:5)

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13)

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Peter 1:3)

Relationship or only power?

And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”  And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.  And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:25-34

No one can imagine the pain and the despair of that woman. She was so desperate that she chose to do what she knew she should not. She needed Jesus desperately. She needed His power to heal. That was all she wanted. She touched Jesus and was healed, but did not touch God’s heart. She was healed but God did not know her. She was healed but she did not meet her God.

But because the Lord is a loving God, He did not let her go. He wanted to give her more than she asked for. He wanted to offer her the healing of her soul, a relationship with Him, a place in His family. So He pursued her, offering her the choice to reject Him or to run to Him. The same thing He does with us every day. We are always free to choose His blessings and refuse His affection. Sometimes we are frustrated because He offers only Himself. But for God, Himself is the best gift He can offer (John 17:3). And sometimes it is the only thing we need. To have God’s blessing can make us happy, to have God will give us an unending joy and peace (John 14:27; 16:22).

This woman understood that she needed more from Jesus. She was healed, but came to Him and fell down before Him, showing her faith. And Jesus honored that faith. He made her well, whole, complete. She got a lot of more by choosing to acknowledge Jesus’ Lordship. And He called her “daughter”. He gave her a place in His family, a place in heaven with Him (Colossians 1:12-13). God pours His blessings on the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45), but only those who are ready to fall down before Him, to accept Him as Father are part of His family (John 1:12-13). And that is more that all the blessings we can want. Let’s  praise the Lord for that precious gift of Himself.