[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] I [/dropcap]’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our personal relationship with God affects our relationships with our children. I grew up in a pastor’s home, and I attended a Christian school that was based on more of a legalistic type of belief system. (And please know that I am not bashing the school or my church; I love both. I’m just processing.) So my growing up consisted of a lot of pressure. I was very aware of people’s comments, what they thought a pastor’s family should look like, what a good Christian should looke like. Outside performance, adhering to rules, wanting to please God through my actions, etc. was all that I knew. My dad is very much about knowing our identity in Christ, but I couldn’t ever translate what that really meant. I needed it broken down into easy language. Righteousness, right standing, identity in Christ all translated to me as behavior and actions. It never occurred to me that it is actually what Christ has done rather than anything I can do.

So I’ve struggled with faith for a long time. I’m very driven, very much wanting to do everything right because I love God. My heart is right, but my understanding has been limited. And it’s only since becoming a parent that I’m starting to really seek out God’s heart for me as His child. It’s only now that I’m learning that God isn’t conditional in His love for me. It’s not a matter of Micah, if you do this, I will love you. If you walk like this, I will be pleased with you. He just loves me. He sees me in light of what Jesus accomplished for me, and nothing that I say or do will ruin that. Yes, He desires for me to live like Jesus. Yes, He has set things up in life so that if we do this, it goes well with us. If I walk with Him, submit to Him, submit to His Word as final authority, my life will be so much better. The closer I walk with Him, the nearer and dearer He will be to me. Faith and works go together.

Yet the primary thing is knowing Him, loving Him, and resting in His love for me. Trusting the Heart of my Father is the primary importance of it all. Taking part in my identity as a co-heir with Christ is the foundation of everything. Knowing that Jesus wiped my slate clean; knowing that HE has put me in right standing with God is the key to all of life.

I have so many years of trying to do this, trying to be more, trying to have more faith, trying to be more obedient, trying to the point of exhaustion and being in tears because it’s too hard. I can’t do it!! Yet I don’t have to do it. He already did it. All I do is receive it. All I do is love Him more, and He does it in me. Love Him, dwell in Him, walk with Him, and make the choices to obey and submit to Him, and He does all the rest. He does the hard work; I just get into alignment.

I wonder how many other pastor’s kids have missed it? I can guess that quite a few have. I wonder how many other Christians have gotten so involved with the rules and the outward appearance that they’ve missed the heart of it all? Sometimes we miss the beauty of the simplicity of it all, yet God’s always wooing us back. He’s always trying to get us to just look at Him. Just look in His face that is so full of love, patience, and adoration. He is so beautiful, and He thinks that about us. He just loves us.

Lord, help me to just know you more, love you more, seek Your face more, and cherish Your presence in my life more.

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