Friday, August 20, 2010

Jesus loves me

Last night I went to sleep reading Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel. Or at least the first few chapters of it, since that’s the size of the sample I downloaded to my Kindle.

Now I am going to have to buy the actual book because of its fresh perspective – actually, its fresh reminder – of the true message of the Gospel. As opposed to the message most of us think is the Gospel.

We Christians know that we are saved by God’s grace alone.  But most of the time, we live as though salvation depended on us.

Of course, that’s not the way we THINK we live.  Satan’s lies are much too subtle, because he knows if we saw them plainly we would recognize and reject them.

But when we "tsk" at the person who wears cutoffs and a tank top to a church service… when we feel a weight of guilt because we skipped prayer group and haven’t spent alone time in the Bible for a few days…when we are afraid to show our Christian friends who we truly are, but mask our struggles and our feelings and our hearts instead… we are living as if salvation depended on us, upon our good works. And that’s not the Gospel according to the Bible.

The message of the Gospel is not just good news. It’s great news. It’s the Best. News. Ever.

Even if I didn’t spend time in the Word this morning, or this week, or this year…
Jesus loves me.

When I lose my Mother of the Year award because I forgot to pick someone up from volleyball practice,
or played a computer game instead of doing the dishes,
or said things to my kids I swore I’d never say…
Jesus loves me.

When I choose to skip an opportunity to say something nice - or help someone who’s struggling -
just because I don't feel like doing the right thing,
Jesus loves me.

And He loves you too.

Even when you wear cutoffs and a tank top to church,
or a cuss word escapes from your lips,
or you’re just not sure about this Christianity thing,
or you’ve messed up so badly you are sure you can never be forgiven,
Jesus loves you.

How do I know? The Bible tells me so.

God demonstrates his love for us in this:
while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.

-Romans 5:8, NIV

I love the way the Message says it:

God put his love on the line for us
by offering his son in sacrificial death
while we were of no use whatever to him.

The message of forgiveness and freedom through Christ is not just for those who don’t yet believe.

It’s also for the broken and discouraged and sinful ones who sit in the pew every Sunday. The ones who think, if you really knew me, you wouldn’t sit so close to me.

In Christ we are all truly free.  So when will we start living like it?