Have you ever felt like this?
You hear a meaningful sermon that convicts you of areas in your life you’re not happy with. Maybe you get convicted of unconfessed sin. You know you’re not doing your best for God. You want to do better. You want God to be pleased with you.
Driving home you decide, “I’m going to do better.” You commit to God and yourself you’re going to change. You plan to dig into God’s word. Pray every day. Join a Bible study. Never skip church.
As you drive home confidence wells up inside. Those things you want to change become challenges. You set goals. Develop your plan. You attack those challenges with a vengeance.
For awhile things change. “My plan’s working,” you say. You’re praying more, reading Scripture more. Acting better. Feeling better. Doing better.
Then work gets crazy. You skip a day’s Bible reading. Then another. You don’t pray as much because you’re exhausted by bedtime. The kids keep wearing you down.
You wake up one day and realize those habits you committed to change are creeping back into your behavior. You start smoking again, swearing again, gossiping again, or whatever again.
Your self-improvement plan fails. You think, “I’m a failure.” You change your plan. Try new things. Try working your old plan better. But in time the same thing happens. Failure.You’ve given it all you’ve got and you still feel like you’ve come up short. This self-improvement strategy becomes a vicious cycle until you finally conclude, “I’m never going to measure up. I’m never going to be totally accepted by God.”
You’re right. And you’re wrong.
You’re right. You can never measure up to God’s standards. Christ is the only One who can.
But you’re wrong. You are totally accepted by God. Just as you are. Nothing you could do could make God love you more. Nothing you could do could make God love you less.
Are you guilty of Stinkin’ Thinkin’? Or do you know your true identity in Christ as His holy, totally accepted, unconditionally loved, precious child?