The Best Things In Life Are...

"The best things in life are earned". I saw that in a commercial add today. I don't know what the advertisement was for but that phrase hit me for sure. "What?" I thought to myself. "The best things in life are NOT earned!". "Well", I thought again, "that may be true, but I don't always live like it". Truth is, the best thing in life is, well, life! I have this gift from Jesus of everlasting life along with perfect love and sometimes I just don't know how to live with that. Does that make me crazy? Probably, but if we are all being honest, we need constant reminders that this life is a gift, free of charge...and there is nothing we can do to change that. The reality that I sometimes am afraid to face is that I don't deserve this free life, and I cannot earn it. I say afraid because my flesh wants to be justified and I want to "have rights" and to admit I cannot be justified through my actions and I don't really "have rights" leaves me empty handed.

Empty handed...

Maybe that's the part I struggle with. Coming to God empty handed. How can I accept this miraculous gift of love and have nothing to offer in return but a broken mess of a life? How can God even want that? I do not understand that, believe me, but I am finding that he not only wants me to come empty handed, he rejoices when I do so. "How can you want this mess?" I ask him fearfully. His response is always the same. "In your weakness I will be strong". In my weakness, he is made strong. When I am weak, I have nothing to boast in but him. When I am weak, I have no justification except for his mercy.

The miracle of this undeserving gift of life is that accepting it as a gift brings me freedom. The freedom is in knowing that God has seen me at my worst and he still rejoices in me. What freedom! What joy! To be loved for who I am right now, with no strings attached is a gift indeed! Yes, empty handed is the only way to come to God. What could I offer from these unclean hands of mine that could be worthy of the perfect Creator of all? Nothing. What does he call worthy? Me. He simply offers himself as a gift to fill my empty hands and heart and he makes me worthy. I am so relieved to find that this gift of love cannot be earned. I am so overwhelmed realizing that the most perfect thing ever to be obtained in life is free...and I have found it.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to just accept something and not feel obligated, like there is some kind of catch to it. For a long time I thought the catch was that God was waiting for me to "prove I was worthy". What I now know is that I did not come to him worthy and filled. I cam to him empty and he filled me up and made me worthy. Daily, I discover my weakness and he is made strong in it every time. I cannot say I have come to the place yet that I delight in my own weakness. I still find, at times, that I want to hide from my weakness because I worry that when it is exposed, he will love me less. The truth he is teaching me, is that his love is unchanging. It is because his love is perfect that he can use this empty, weak life of mine and be strong in it. Wow. What a miracle. I could never do anything worthy of that love...and I don't have to. It is undeserving, unearned...it is free.

"The best thing in life is free"...free indeed.

"God saved you by his grace when you believed, and you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" Ephesians 2:8-10

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