Tuesday, August 15, 2023

What Christianity Really Is

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Alicia Quan

"But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

~Romans 5:8

C.S. Lewis once said, "The Christian does not think God loves us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us."

This is a truth we all need to hear, because the tendency for many of us (especially if we have been caught in legalism at one time or another!) is to believe that we have to be good in order for God to love us.

If that’s the case, then we’re all dreadfully stuck because I know I still do things every day that aren’t “good” - I holler at my kids or waste valuable time or am short with my husband or am impatient and unloving towards someone.

No, we don’t seek to be good in order to get the Lord to love us. We know He loves us, and that inspires change in our hearts.

That is why legalism is never enough. Legalism has you follow a set of rules (many of them man-made rather than God-issued!) because you “have” to.

Christianity, on the other hand, says you come to Christ as you are -with all your sin and brokenness-, repent, and accept His lavish grace. When you understand the amazing depth of the glorious grace of God, how much He loves you, and how compassionate, good, kind, and merciful He really is, that is what then drives you to want to glorify Him from a heart of gratitude for what He has done and Who He is. That is what leads you to desire to live a life of obedience and goodness.

Hear me when I say, sister, that it’s not about cleaning up your act before you come to Christ.

It’s not about keeping yourself all cleaned up and perfect every moment of the day in order to stay with Christ.

It’s not about following all the rules.

It’s about walking by the Spirit (goodness is a fruit of the Spirit, after all!), abiding in Christ, and communing with the Father in prayer. And as your love for the Lord grows, as your sweet relationship with Him deepens, so then will the obedience in your life increase, as well.

Isn’t God good? He’s far more gracious than we could ever imagine!

Reflection Questions:

1) Have you ever believed the lie that you have to be good in order for God to love you?

2) Even if you know the truth of the gospel, in what ways are you still thinking that God will somehow love you more if you check all the boxes?

3) How can you preach the truth to yourself today about how much God loves you and why?

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