I had always felt apprehensive about starting something like this. The whole idea of detailing my deepest thoughts and feelings to anyone that chose to click on the link was a pretty difficult thought to process. I vaguely remember when I first heard of these online journals called blogs where people that thought waaay too highly of themselves typed up long paragraphs only to be viewed by people who spent too much time on Facebook and Twitter. It seemed like such a self-righteous act. The author would hit Publish with a smug grin on their face basically saying:
"Here ya go world! This I give to you! Take and read. Come see how good I look!"
It was never my desire to become like one of those people but in reading through some of my old posts I saw the same self-righteous grin curve the edges of my lips. In writing I believe I have often given off a persona of false piety and a holier-than-thou mentality, all the while deceiving myself into thinking that I was truly doing "all for the glory of God." In reality I was no better than the rich people that emptied their large bags of coins into the temple offering. Each like, view, or word of affirmation added to the waterfall of gold coins, settling in a pile of self-glorification and pride in my sacrifice.
This has led me to really identify the reason I started writing. Although I originally thought it at the beginning, I did not start writing to just showcase my life or experiences, it was for something so much more than that. It was for more than my glory, my pride, or my appearance of spirituality. It was to lift high the name of my Lord while my own name was buried beneath His glory and beauty. It was not about me. It was, is, and always will be about Him.
When I first began thinking about making this blog I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what I would name it. I knew that the title needed to reflect the power, reverence, and honor God so rightly deserved. I knew it needed to describe the unconditional love God chose to show me. I knew it needed to speak to the sacrifice my Lord paid in full for me.
As I was reading through the Book of Romans I came across a passage in chapter eight that spoke to the very depths of my heart. Everything about my understanding of Christianity could be summarized in what the Apostle Paul wrote in
"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs––heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."
In verses 14 and 15 I found what I believe to be one of the greatest demonstrations of the Gospel message.
Through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God welcomes us into His family. Although we do not deserve it, although we consciously rebel against Him, although we choose to seek our own sinful desires, He still chose to send His Son to pay our price. Only the righteousness of Jesus could satisfy the wrath God had stored up for humanity's desire to serve ourselves. Through the sacrifice of Christ we were given the opportunity to become sons and daughters of God.
Is there possibly a more beautiful demonstration than adoption? A child that would otherwise have no hope for happiness or love is given the opportunity to have a family, not based on their ability to earn the love of hopeful parents but based solely on their acceptance of the unconditional love their new parents have for them.
How much more beautiful is this demonstration when God the Father is the One that chooses to adopt us? No matter our pasts, our failures, our shortcomings, our weaknesses, or our brokenness, God still loves us, He still chose to die for us.
As often as I reflect on my relationship with Christ I cannot help but be astounded by His love for me. His sacrifice gave me the opportunity to experience true, undeserved grace and love. His resurrection from the grave gave me a hope that I knew was true, despite my doubts. When I was adopted by God I was no longer a slave to this world and the sinful desires that plagued me. Through His adoption of me, God has set me apart for His will and purposes. He has included me in His family and grafted me in, as a branch being grafted into a tree is God welcoming me into His infinite inheritance.
I am the prodigal son. The son that ran away from his loving Father, knowing full-well that I was breaking His heart. I squandered all that He had given me on lusts, passions, and vanity that temporarily satisfied me but never measured up to what life was like at my Father's house.
Return as a slave, then you can at least live life like one of His servants, a life much better than the one you are currently living. He did not even give me a chance to speak, for His embrace was too strong. He did not care about what I had done to Him, what I had done to His wealth, or what I had put Him through. He was just overjoyed to have His son back.
Although we will continue to fall short of His standard of holiness, as sons and daughters of God we are no longer viewed in terms of our own righteousness. Through faith in Christ we have been given His perfect righteousness, a righteousness that God sees as worthy.
"God will never be impressed with what we can do, He is only impressed by His Son."
You do not have to earn the unconditional love of God. He is ready to give His love freely to you and wants to welcome you into His family.
"Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him! Father to the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation." Psalm 68:4-5