8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Ė Romans 5:8 AMP
In my childhood I was what you would call one of those doom and gloom Christians. I thought I only needed to pray if I really needed something. I thought that God was only there to beat me up when I was down and condemn me when I did something wrong.
My beliefs were so twisted in fact that when the decision was up to me, I decided that I didnít want anything to do with church or Christianity at all. I mean, Who did God think He was? If I wanted to continually be kicked around I would simply move to a metropolitan area and spend my nights exploring dark alleys in the high crime areas of the city. I felt like God was trying to prove that He was in charge, but I also felt that He could just bless me with whatever I wanted. If He blessed me, in my eyes that would prove that He loved me.
Then before I turned thirty years old my life changed. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I read all the passages from the Bible about the blessings that accompanied a relationship with Him. My first thought, just like was probably the same as many others when they first received their salvation was boy, Iím on easy street now.
But things werenít so easy. Sure, for a while I felt like I could walk on water just like Peter. I even thought they might have to pull me down into the baptismal at church because of my new found ability. But there was a catch. As I matured in my faith, there were behaviors in my life that God wanted me to turn from that I didnít. And the more I kept those behaviors as well as bringing in more sin, the further I moved away from Him. Those years would make for a book in and of itself on mercy and grace, but at the time I just felt like God was trying to prove something. I even blamed God for all of my problems.
Thatís right. I blamed God. There are many Christians who do the same thing I did. I was a very good tither. I gave all of my free time to the church. But in my heart I was crying out, God, why donít you bless me? Donít you know everything I do for You? Help me out. Prove to me that youíre real! But there was a catch. It was my fault. I was to blame. God didnít make my mess, I did. And I had the audacity to expect Him to clean it up for me.
In my blog yesterday I spoke about Christians out to prove something to the world. I even talked about how we try to prove ourselves to God. But there are times when many believers expect God to prove something to them. We want a financial windfall, a promotion at work, or even to magically wake up one morning and be a better spouse or parent. And we try to convince God that if He proves Himself to us in those ways that our faith will grow to new heights.
But as my wife Marlo says, God will not bless a mess. He wants us to work hard and be diligent in all we do from the workplace to home to church. He wants us to live calm and well balanced lives (2 Timothy 1:7) and not be double minded and second guess our faith (James 1:8).
I have learned that God will always see us through, but I have also learned that He wants us to put forth our best effort and not just sit around waiting and expectant for something to happen. And I have also learned from todayís verse that He has already proven everything He needs to prove to us.
Todayís verse says that God has proven His love for us because Jesus died for us. He sent Jesus to die a slow, painful, and excruciating death on a cross to forgive us for all of our sins. God didnít send Jesus so that He could say that He did; He sent Jesus because He loves all of us. He really doesnít need to prove anything else to any of us. But search your own life. He has probably proven Himself to you more than you realize.
I know for a fact that God has been there to help me and my family on countless occasions. Whether we had a financial need, a spiritual need, or even an emotional need, He has always provided. Even when I felt like I was at the end of my rope getting ready to drown in the sea of my sin, I discovered a life preserver attached to the end to keep me afloat.
You see, God will give us all plenty of chances to repent and turn from our sinful behavior. He never blessed my messed up life, but He never completely turned His back on me either. Now Iím not saying that Iím approaching sainthood by any means, but my life is not a landfill anymore. And God is always there. Thank You Lord, because You have proven your love for me more than anyone will ever know.