Read Psalm 94
When I thought, "My foot slips," your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:18-19, ESV
When my foot is slipping--and temptation is overwhelming me--do I immediately return to Jesus?When I feel like I can't handle my worries and my problems on my own, do I turn to Jesus for solace?When I feel God's hand of correction, do I accept that as a sign of His love?
It's easy to beat ourselves up over sin, especially when we tend to repeat the same sins over and over again in a seemingly endless cycle. We wonder how we can even call ourselves Christian when we so relentlessly go against God and His will. Yet this is exactly why we need to lean hard into Jesus' love. If we continue to view faith as merely a set of rules to follow and obey, then when we fall--and we will fall--we'll crash hard, blaming ourselves for our weaknesses and failures. But if we view faith as a relationship with God based in love, then we will be able to turn to Him and know with great joy that He loves us no matter what.
In his book Prodigal God, Timothy Keller talks about the difference between religion and faith, or rule-following and relationship: "Religion operates on the principle of 'I obey--therefore I am accepted by God.' The basic operating principle of the gospel is 'I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ--therefore I obey'... Faith in the gospel restructures our motivations, our self-understanding, our identity, and our view of the world. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart-change will be superficial and fleeting."
Lord, I know obedience is important, but I also know that You want me to move far beyond simple rule-following and into a real relationship with You. Teach me to better love You.