“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 your faults, fears, failures, and 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. Listen:
- There is nothing you will ever do that will make God love you more than he does right now.
- There is nothing 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.
I like to think of it like this: 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. They’d get up and take a couple steps and fall again.
As their father, what was my reaction? Did I scold them? “What are you doing stumbling? You’re a Warren. Warrens 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?”
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 — all my sins, faults, mistakes, all the skeletons in my closet, all the shameful acts and thoughts and memories and temptations. 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 you 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 you with his love. God looks at Jesus and sees that Jesus is perfect; he doesn’t see your sin. That’s what it means to relax in God’s grace.
Talk About It
- If God doesn’t see your sin anymore, what do you need to let go of so that you are also not focused on your sin?
- What more could you do for God if you were able to relax in his 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 the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.