I used to think Christianity was a long list of rules. I tried hard to please God and insisted others did as well. This kept me trapped in a self-inflicted cycle of guilt, all the while sure this was God’s plan for me. When others failed to measure up to the rules, I found myself judging them in my legalistic mind. I was lonely and didn’t know why.
But maturity in the Lord taught me how wrong I was. The list of rules was my own attempt to be a “good Christian.” I really did love God and honestly wanted to please him. I craved his love. If I could just try harder.
I began to comprehend the unconditional love of God that could see the situation clearly. As I grew to understand His grace and was able to set aside the rules, the judgments, and the frustration for fruitless striving, I was able to live in freedom. Now I can see how precious people really are, no matter where they stand in their faith.
Galatians teaches when we truly understand that Christ died to free us from the law, we become partakers in the gift of grace He has provided. Freedom is accessible to us as we continually remember the Christian life is a relationship between a loving Father and His beloved child. Following after God and obeying Him changes from a “have to” to a “get to.” When we understand His grace, our desire grows to follow after Him with reckless abandon since the burden of sin has been lifted.
Are there areas of your life where you are religiously trying to be “good enough,” or earn God’s love and acceptance? Surrender to Him and let His grace transform you. Stop striving. Start enjoying the peace that is yours as a child of the King. Grasp the gift and stand free in Christ.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)
Natalie Guarascio is a young married woman living in Morgan Hill, California. She has one daughter and two cats. Her husband is a youth and college pastor at their church and they are in awe of Jesus’ reckless love in their lives.
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