Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I spent years not truly understanding the incredible gift of grace that God offered me through His Son.
Sure I had heard all the stories, Jesus died for my sins, He paid the price for all of the things I would do wrong. But somehow hearing it time and time again wasn’t enough for the reality of what that meant to sink deep into my soul.
Instead I worked really hard at being as “good” as possible. I just knew that I had to try and keep doing it right, keep in line, and earn God’s favor. When I would mess up I would beg forgiveness, hoping that I could get back into God’s good graces.
It was exhausting.
When I was 20 years old and a junior in college, this “good Christian girl” found herself staring at two pink lines on a pregnancy test. I was shocked that something like this could happen to someone like me. What would people think?
My then boyfriend and I decided to get married. We jumped into parenthood and marriage completely naive and unprepared. I was four months pregnant when we said our “I dos”. The shame of getting caught in my sin weighed heavy on me.
When life proved difficult for our new family I was certain that God was punishing me for my past sin. I needed to earn God’s favor once again, then maybe life would settle down. I tried to walk the straight and narrow path. I was quick to see and point out the sin in others and unwilling to see that I continued to harbor pride and resentment in my own heart.
I lived in chains and found myself in the cycle of doing, failing, begging for forgiveness, doing, failing, begging for forgiveness….
I would love to tell you that this cycle was short lived. But the reality is I am just now, at 41, starting to grasp the freedom that comes from accepting and walking in God’s grace.
It has been a difficult journey, but I had to come to that place where I realized that there was nothing, NOTHING that I could do to be good enough for God’s love. It was a humbling moment when I was broken fully of my selfish pride and ready to acknowledge and then receive His free gift of grace.
This understanding doesn’t give me a pass to go on sinning as I please. As I have started to walk in this freedom my heart seeks to honor God with my life, but I am freed of the burden of needing to be perfect. I recognize my need for a Savior every day and am amazed that God would love me so much, in spite of all my failings, that He would sacrifice His Son on my behalf.
I may never fully understand His unconditional love, but I will live the rest of my life with a heart of gratitude that it is available for me.
Friend, do you believe it is available for you?
Have you found yourself on the merry-go-round of striving for perfection to earn God’s favor?
May I offer this recommendation? You don’t have to stay there. Take some time today and sit quietly with your hands open, heart ready, to fully accept His free gift of grace. Memorize Romans 6:23, and if you find yourself weary from the striving remember that you can rest in His care. There is freedom found only through Him. Celebrate that truth today!
This devotional was written as a part of a project over at the Loved Bible Project. Anne Marie has inspired this incredible community of believers who not only wants to seek to understand scripture more, but also works to provide Bibles for individuals that may not otherwise have access to the Word. Love, love being a very small part of what she is doing. Check them out on FB and be encouraged!!