"As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor him. He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13-14 GN)
God understands you completely. He's fully aware of your humanity. He knows what makes you tick. He knows your faults, your fears, your failures, and your frustrations. He doesn't expect you to be Superman or Superwoman.
If you're a parent, do you love your children at every stage of their development, or are you waiting until they're mature to love them?
The point is, God loves you at every stage of your development, so you don't have to have unresolved guilt and unrealistic expectations. Understand this:
- There is nothing you will ever do that will make God love you more than he does right now.
- There is nothing that you will ever do that will make God love you less than he does right now.
God's love is unconditional; it's not based on what you do or don't do.
The Bible teaches us that "there is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1 TEV). What does that mean? Let's say I take a card and write every single thing I've ever done wrong on it (and, of course, it wouldn't all fit on a single card). I write down all my sins, faults, mistakes, skeletons in my closet, shameful acts and thoughts and memories and temptations. And then I put the card in a book and close it. You can't see the card anymore. You can only see the book. That's the way God sees us when Jesus is in our lives. He no longer sees our sin; he sees Jesus at work in our lives.
When I come to Christ and say, "God, here's my life — everything I've ever done wrong, every time I've ever made a mistake, all those stupid things I've done. I want to put my life in Jesus Christ." Jesus wraps me with his love, and God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect. He doesn't see my sin. That's what it means to relax in God's grace.
Talk About It
I have three kids. All of them had to learn to walk, and all three of them went through the same process. They'd take a step; they'd stumble. They'd get up, take two steps, then stumble again. They'd get up and fall back down without taking a step.
As their father, what was my reaction? Did I scold them: "What are you doing, stumbling around? You're a Warren. Warren's don't stumble! You can do better than that." Of course not! How silly! But a lot of us think that's how God treats us. We think that every time we stumble, God says, "Get up! What are you doing, you dummy!"
Spend some time today talking to God about your relationship with him — how you view him as Father and how you accept or deny his forgiveness. Then relax as you rest in the knowledge of God's grace.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.