I've heard the stories. Flannel graph pictures depicting lives of people born years before were told each week in Sunday school. I've known the story of Jesus for as long as I can remember. He came as a baby born in a manger with a mission. I was told He would die to take my sins away.
The emphasis was salvation from my sins and entrance into heaven. Nobody really talked much about the relationship or the completion. Until recent years I didn’t really understand that it wasn’t my sin He was focused on, it was ME. Sin and shame blocked my heart from receiving. He came to clear the pathway, opening a way for me to get to His love. For God so loved, ME, He gave His only Son to clear away the effects of my sin.
In His unmerited favor I was given, life. Grace opened the door allowing me to receive all that He offers me. It's by His grace that I have been saved, not by anything of myself. As I trust Him with me, my heart has opened to embrace the love that has waited in the wings. As I have seen that my sin isn’t His focus I have been driven to run into His presence. He doesn’t care what I’ve done. He cares about me.
At this time of year the focus is on a baby born in a manger who would take away the sins of the world. But this year more than ever I am seeing the beauty of the story of this One who came to redeem my heart. Jesus came to love the world. Sin and shame were in His way. He had to stand against them once for all with the gift of His life. He’s not focused on the sin. He’s focused on loving those He created to love.
When Jesus stepped out of that grave, he left my sins behind, buried in the grave with death. They no longer keep me from Him. From that moment forward my offenses were covered forever. I no longer have to live in the identity of a woman covered by sin and shame. I was given the gift of a brand new life. I was invited into the embrace of love, perfect, unconditional love.
I am not loved less for what I’ve done. I am loved perfectly. My actions don’t please Him. I do. I do not have to do another thing to be pleasing to Him. The works of the law are fulfilled forever closing the door on performance based acceptance.
Unmerited favor is freely given. I can’t do one thing to deserve it. I can't earn it nor can I attain it. I just get it. It's not based on me and what I do. It's based on the heart of the Giver. I am invited to receive all that He freely gives.
Jesus invites me to live His life out of me. He reminds me when I fall He is there to pick me up, brush me off, wrap His arms around me and love me with truth of who I am. He constantly reminds me that my junk has been redeemed, forever. He desires that I live as He made me to be before sin wracked my mind, soul and body. He tells me often who I am to Him. I do not have to do any rituals to be close to His heart. I am already there. I am now invited to receive my inheritance.
The One who is perfect love came to this earth to redeem me from a life riddled with sin, guilt and shame. He took me off the gerbil wheel of performance. He perfected my imperfections. He gave His life in exchange for mine. My old stony heart was removed and His was transplanted in. When Jesus walked out of that tomb my life began over again.
He has made me holy, righteous, godly once for all. The requirements of the law have been fulfilled for all eternity. The Old Covenant has been replaced with a New Covenant. Love has redeemed me from the law of sin and death.
When God came down life was altered forever. For the first time since the sin of mankind perfect love was put on display for all to see through the life of one who came as a babe and grew to be a man. I rejoice as I consider what this little life meant to me. When God came down in the body of a baby perfect love invaded the world to change my life forever.
©copyrighted: 2010 Julie L. Todd