Unfinished Life: Week 3 - Day 3

Opening prayer

Lord, let us hear your voice today in all the many ways that you speak.  Thank you for being our Good Father and for always loving us.  Thank you for putting your truth in our hearts.

 

Read Acts 4:12 (NIV)

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

 

Reflect

I used to work with a lady named, ummm, let’s call her Sue.  I didn’t always like working with Sue.  Sometimes she complained too much.  Sometimes she tried to get others to do her work.  Sometimes she was a bit obnoxious and loud.  But I learned something from Sue that to me has been profound.

 Sue didn’t have the best upbringing.  Her home life was borderline abusive and her parents divorced when she was a teenager.  Her father was distant and gruff and her mom took comfort from alcohol.

 By this time, Sue was an adult and her dad had remarried a woman who didn’t really like Sue and they moved away to another state.  Occasionally her dad and his wife would come back to Wichita to visit.  They may or may not let Sue know they were in town and if they did, they would only offer to let her come see them.  They never made the effort to see her and she felt it deeply.  Her dad was constantly critical of everything she did.

 What struck me about Sue is that for all of the abuse, neglect, criticism and apparent lack of care she experienced from her father, Sue had a deep desire to please that man.  She never gave up trying to make him proud of her regardless of how many times he hurt her.  I believe that desire is a seed God has planted in us.  Like it or not, there is something in each of us that desires to make our parents proud even if they don’t deserve that from us.

 I believe so many things on this earth are a shadow of the real version in heaven and this seed is no exception.  I believe in the heart of every person is a desire to please their heavenly father.  Fortunately, our heavenly father isn’t like Sue’s earthly father.  He is GOOD!  He looks on us lovingly and accepts us for who we are, unfinished and broken.  We don’t have to strive for his approval like Sue had to do for her earthly father.  He has already provided for our salvation and complete acceptance in Jesus, the name given by the father by which we are saved.

 

Apply

Are you caught in the lie that you must perform in order to please God?  Do you find yourself working to earn his forgiveness, doing good works to make up for past sins or to win his favor?  Are you trying to balance the scales of his justice with your behavior and your goodness?

 Know that your salvation is complete in Jesus Christ.  He could not love you or be pleased with you more.  He wants you to approach his throne with confidence and find rest in him.  He wants to you to know and reflect his heart of love and forgiveness which is yours, free, in Jesus Christ.

 

Closing prayer

Jesus, help us to accept your grace, free for nothing.  We are so conditioned to work for approval, but your kingdom is not like this earth and your ways are not like man’s ways.  Reveal your truth to us in new ways and lead us into freedom in Christ.

Terry Schneider