Unconditional Love and Trust is all that God wants from us, not our petty attempts at righteousness and beating ourselves up over our failure to control our sinful nature. He wants what even father wants, for His children to Love and Trust Him.
A few days ago,my 8 year old daughter came home from school with a big smile on her face. The smile was the result of spending the last few nights working through her confusion with some particulars of math. The happiness was a result of her getting 100 in a math test specifically on the math problems she had been struggling with and worked so hard to understand. Added to her own happiness was the fact that she knew I would be pleased with this result, especially after spending so long working through the problems. She was happy because she had trusted me to guide her and this trust had provided a perfect score. If she had not gotten 100 in this test, I may have been disappointed that I failed to guide her effectively, but I would not love her any less or any more for getting such a good score. Our love for our children is unconditional, and does not waiver when they do good or bad.
This reminds me of the parable of the lost son in Luke 15:11.
Luke 15:11-12 Jesus continued: There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, "Father, give me my share of the estate." So he divided his property between them.
The son took his inheritance and left, he squandered the money and ended up living in a pig pen eating slops from the pigs leftovers. Then later the son returns…
Luke 15:17-20 When he came to his senses, he said, "How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men."
So he decides to return home and what did his father do?
Luke 15:20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Like almost any other parent he loved his son unconditionally.
As with my daughter, my love is not conditional on her getting a good or bad score, a fathers love is unconditional. Through good times and bad times our love never alters, from the day our children are born we love them totally and completely without question, and would if necessary lay down our lives for them. This is pure unquestionable love for another individual.
In the same way our children love us, they trust us completely to provide for them and know that we will be there when they need our support. Just like the son in the parable who even though he had rejected his father and left with his inheritance. He knew when times got really bad that he could trust his father to love him and help him.
This is how our relationship with God should be, God knows we sin, but He sees beyond this, we are his children, He is our Father in Heaven and the relationship God wants with us is the same that we want for our children. Unquestionable, unconditional love and trust.
Matthew 18:3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
This statement by Jesus is for me, a very profound statement of the relationship God wants with us. It drives home this point, here Jesus is telling us that our love and trust of our Father in heaven must be like that of a child. This unconditional love and trust which is the key to Grace.
A friend recently sent me a link to a site that explores and develops this incredibly well www.truefaced.com (Thanks Tom) the Truefaced message available for download from this site is an incredible statement of grace. The message is basically explaining that in our Faith we have 2 possible ways to approach our relationship with God, these are Pleasing God or Trusting God. The point is that we can never please God by trying on our own to reject sin, because all we do in rejecting sin is we eventually fall back into sin, get frustrated because on our own we cannot deny our nature. This is impossible and results in us beating ourselves up about our failure to control sin.
The parallel I am drawing from this message is that like my love for my daughter, God loves us unconditionally. All he wants from us is for us to love and trust him. The same way that I hope that my children will love and trust me. In the Truefaced message he talks about a banner on the trusting God side, this banner says “Standing with God with my sin In front of us”. How many times do we hear about anus crimes that were committed by someone from a broken home, or someone who abuses others who was firstly abused by their parents. Under normal circumstances a parent works hard to maintain the trust that their child has for them, and when a child trusts their parents they want to honor that trust by proving they are worthy of it.
This in comparison, from the words of Christ Jesus, to please and honor God we above everything else have to Love and Trust him like a child loves and trusts their parents. For many this is a paradigm shift, in that we can only get closer to God and be accepted by him by rejecting our sin. God made us exactly as we are, He made me with my sin and faults. Because He wants me on this Earth to fulfill His divine will. What that is I really do not know, I may never know. So many times in history Christians have died for their faith only to have an impact after their death. We do not know what Gods plan is for us until he calls us to follow His plan, all we can do as Christians is Love Him, Trust Him and wait for His call.
One of the most important aspects of Truefaced is that trying to please God to gain His love and draw closer to Him is futile. This is an important message and the point made by Truefaced is an analogy of standing with God, with your sin exposed, and God guiding you through and supporting you in working through you sin. Just like my daughter and her math, I worked with her for several hours to help her understand the problems. When she came to take the test, if she had forgotten some part of what we had covered and failed to get 100, my response would have been, “that’s ok we just need to work on that a little more”, and I would have then spent time with her working through it. This is the concept of Truefaced, working with God so He can help us through our sin, and when we stumble and sin again, no condemnation, no punishment, but Love and fellowship with our Father in Heaven. Who will pick us up and tell us “let’s go through that one again until you get it”, not “You have sinned and now you are condemned to HELL”.
Our Father loves us unconditionally and what we have to do to gain a relationship with Him is to Love and Trust in Him. That’s it, no beating ourselves up over sin and when we slip up and sin again. When we do we need throw our trust on God and allow him to work through us to guide us out of sin. After all how much can God love us, how much does He love us?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
He gave his son for payment for our sins, so why would we have to pay for them again. He wants to have a relationship with us through Love and Trust, and through this Love and Trust we will become changed, we will turn away from sin with His help, guidance and more than this His LOVE.