What about the busyness deep inside my heart, my soul, my mind. Contrary to the external, the internal striving no one can see but me. My clamoring about my spiritual kitchen banging pots and pans. Slamming the cupboards in my mind. Gritting my teeth, I SOS every sin that surfaces. If I can just srub harder. Deeper. Longer. Why can’t I get myself perfect? Earnestly I attempt to clean myself, but the cycle never ends. My spaghetti and meatball stained insides won’t. come. clean. I scrub. I scour. I plan. I prep. To-do lists for Jesus suffocate and confuse.
1. Tell someone about Jesus
2. Memorize this verse and that one
3. Take care of the temple
4. Speak right
5. Live right
6. Do this
7. Don’t do that
8. Don’t think that
9. Don’t you dare say that
10. Give that
I am distracted by the very rules I’ve created to somehow get me “more ready” for Jesus. Rules never bring freedom. Rules always come with chains. But in a sick way, rules bring artificial freedom. They comfort us by allowing us to feel like the victory is in our control. It is for FREEDOM that Christ set me free according to Galatians 5:1. Rules focus on ME everytime. Freedom focuses on Christ and what HE has done. Ever tried to abstain from something and realize that is all you suddenly think about? When my own dirtiness deters me and causes me to see myself as wretched, I tend to look at others in the same way. I see the sins in others like the etched line in my thirteen year old dishes. Scratched. Imperfect. We are all alike. Chipped beyond self-repair. Self-help. Self-control. Self. Self. Self. My striving in my own life for who I want most to reflect, causes me to get agitated with myself and those around me. The washing-machine- self I’ve created can’t handle this heavy load. I can’t do it.
Jesus died once. All of my sins were in the future. I see no date on my scribbled calendar that says, “Jesus death, part II, III, IV, V....” Any straining on my part does nothing. I can’t prepare for Jesus. The preparation has already been done. My own to-do list to clean myself is shredded.
Mary, I can sit. Rest. I can reduce my list to just one thing.
1. Accept His grace -- not bolded or exclaimed. A gentle invitation
When I see myself in Him, I begin to see others in Him.....in need of grace just like me. I begin to feel free. For freedom is the ability to say YES to what is best, not NO. Grace takes the chains and rules OFF. Grace allows me to just soak in His grace. Grace does not equal spiritual
laziness as I have so often thought. Instead grace gives up control and allows someone else to do the work for me. I’ve often let the dirtiest of pots soak for a while. Amazingly, as it sits, the gunk loosens. The same happens when I just submerge myself in Christ. Transformation from dirty to clean. Dark to light. Imperfection to trusting in the PERFECT ONE.
Now that’s not fair! He did it all! For me? He’s okay with that? He doesn’t want my help? He didn’t require me to do the work. Wow! Amazing grace. He just wants me. That’s all. That. Is. All.