Thursday, September 27, 2012

Freedom And Confidence

Why do we make it so hard on ourselves? Maybe there is a bit of masochism in each of us, I don't know, but I do know that too many of us make things far too difficult for ourselves. Approaching God is the easiest thing that we can do once Jesus is Lord of our life, yet we create tons of barriers for ourselves and look for methodology. There is no methodology when it comes to our relationship with God.

He loves us when we are angry, joyful, thankful, in a rotten mood, depressed, sorrowful, ignorant, insightful. We don't have to be in any frame of mind to come to him. We don't have to pray certain words. We don't have to be in a certain position. There isn't one physical location in this world more holy than any other. We don't have to climb a mountain or find a cave. We don't have to wear certain kinds of clothes or do anything special. All we do is say, "Father ..." and we are there. Or if you prefer, sit in quietness and allow your spirit to cry out.

As long as we are covered by the blood of the Lamb, the blood of Jesus, we have all the confidence and boldness to come to our Father just as we are, wherever we are:

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)

A tiny little verse in the context of a bunch of other things but it speaks so well of the simplicity of our relationship with God. I am not saying that the events behind it, the things God did to make it possible, are simple, but God did a complicated thing to make the important thing simple. Simple is good. Simple is exactly what we need. Simple says, "Love me with everything you have." That's God to us.

In fact, Jesus said that everything comes down to those two things: "Love me with everything you have, hold nothing back" and "Love everyone else too". You see, simple is good. We should be spending our lives learning how to do these two things. Forget all the toys and gadgets, the retirement funds, nest eggs, building a career and finding your place in the world. If these two things are not the corner stones of everything we do, our purpose and desire, we are wasting our lives.

It is when we love God with everything that we have, we know we may approach him with freedom and confidence. Freedom, many of us understand but it's the confidence we lack. We think that God is going to hold something against us, that there is something we have done that he has not forgiven. Maybe a sin we have forgotten about, something we hid away. We need to relax and understand that the Holy Spirit brings to mind anything that needs to be dealt with and when he does, deal with it. Meanwhile, relax and enjoy this incredible relationship we have with our Father.

I am not saying our attitude doesn't matter. It does matter. Our Father holds nothing back from us. The promises are all ours but in order for us to actually receive them, to be open to them, to accept them, we need to be a grateful people. Gratitude opens us up to receive. God is holding nothing back but we block the blessings when our heart is hard and cold. Gratitude softens us up and makes us ready to receive. We can approach God with any attitude but if we want to get anything out of it we need to come in love, with the praise on our lips that come from the overflow of a grateful heart.

But come on, stop making it so hard on yourself. Jesus died for a reason. He was also raised from the dead for a reason. He has given you life in abundance. He has flung the gates wide open for you to come to the Father in freedom and confidence, just as you are, covered by the blood of the Son, transformed, adopted and welcomed with great open arms. Doesn't our God deserve all our praise for the great things he has done for us? Then stand in his presence and rejoice always! I will say it again, Rejoice! Enjoy the simplicity of it today.

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