Good News for Who?

Growing up I had a much different view of God than I do now. The church I attended was very strict and had opinions on nearly every aspect of life. It seemed the Christian life was governed by rules and more rules. God seemed distant, judgmental, temperamental. I felt like He was a hovering presence, just waiting for me to screw up so He could punish me.

I tried very hard to follow all the rules, to be a “good girl” so God would love me. But new rules I didn’t know about were always popping up and I was a failure all over again. I willfully sinned at times; sometimes because I didn’t understand the repercussions of my actions and sometimes because I just chose to do the wrong thing. And God wasn’t really there. I went to church. I learned about Him. I prayed for Him to save my soul so many times, it’s hard to say which time I was actually “saved”.

I thought I had to get myself together before God would accept me, somehow make myself whole so I could have a relationship with Him.

But I couldn’t. It was like walking through knee-deep snow. Never. Good. Enough. I thought myself a disappointment to God. Like He was watching me, thinking, “If she could just get it together, I’d love to work with her.”

Shame followed me. When I heard God’s call to write, I hesitated…for years. Frozen by fear of being found out, being exposed for all the things I’ve done. It kept me trapped, afraid to move forward.

Even after I believed God forgave me, I couldn’t forgive myself. I revisited my sin over and over, shaming myself for being so stupid, for choosing wrong time after time. All that time wasted. All that good left undone. All the people I’ve hurt along the way.

I couldn’t leave it. I couldn’t let it go. I held the pain of my sin in my heart and let it continue to hurt me long after God said He’d healed me.

But I kept running after Jesus, trying to find Him. Because honestly, I didn’t have any other options. I tried saving myself, being good, chasing perfection. And I failed.

But Love called my name and made me new (2 Cor 5:17).

Religion condemned me to shame. Jesus saved me to freedom.

It’s the reason I cling to the verse:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

The old me is gone. I have been remade, reborn. I am new, clean, worthy.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls people blessed that the religious elite viewed as cursed (Matthew 5:1-12).

Blessed are…

Blessed are…

Blessed are those on the bottom, for they will be raised up.

Follow this link for a great teaching on the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed Losers – from The Pulpiteer.

Paul called himself the chief of sinners. He was Kingdom enemy number one (1 Tim 1:15-16). God chose him to spread the Good News throughout the world, not just in his time but in ours.

He held the coats while Stephen was martyred.

He hunted down Christians.

And God chose him, forgave him, used him. Raised him up.

Jesus desires those who know they have nothing to offer. He says in order to follow Him, we must die to ourselves (John 12:24). And no one with anything wants to give up everything.

Only those who are worn consent to be made new.

Only those who are empty need to be filled.

Only those who feel dead want to be made alive.

He leaves the 99 sheep who follow the rules, stay in the herd, and are “good sheep” to chase after, find, and celebrate the one who ran away, got lost; the one who couldn’t find its way back (Luke 15:4-7). He will go after you when you’re lost. He loves you that much (See: A Letter to the Lost).

He will receive you home when you run away, when you squander His wealth and the gifts He’s given you (Luke 15:11-32). Not only will he take you back, He will accept you as His own child and throw you a party like no other.

Good News for who?

Good News – for you, for me, for all of us.

You are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

You are loved (Romans 5:8).

You have a holy inheritance in Christ (1 Peter 1:4).

Have you ever felt like God didn’t love you, like you’re a lost cause? How has God gone after you?

The only people in the Kingdom of God are sinners turned saints by the blood of Jesus. There is no other way to be forgiven than to fall down at the foot of the cross and accept the Good News that salvation is free, and available to all who will accept it.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

About megstoike

I'm a wife, mom of two, and lover of Jesus. I believe through Him we are transformed and receive new life, giving us unique purpose.

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