Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Assessments, Lies, and the Love of God

All the staff at Summit Ridge Church have been reading through the same book together.

Ya, I know there's only three of us.

Nevertheless, the three of us are reading through The Gospel Centered Life together and discussing it as we go. This book is pretty rad! 

The focus of the book is to analyze the work of Christ on the cross and create in us a perspective that causes us to consider the gospel's interaction with every aspect of our lives.
Imagine it: our faith affecting every single aspect and detail of our lives everyday of the week.

What a concept, right?

Anyways! Right now, the book is forcing us to analyze and dissect the areas and aspects of the gospel that we don't fully understand or accept as truth in our lives. A full and true understanding of the gospel, according to the book, creates and equally expanding knowledge of both God's holiness and the depravity of our own sin. The more we understand the work of Christ on the cross, the more we understand the greatness and holiness of God which gives us a deeper and greater understanding of our own emptiness and brokenness.

As we explore this concept of this process, the book asks us difficult questions. These questions force us to check our own heart, see our flaws and allow God to fix them.

"As God thinks of you right now as you are, what is the look on His face?"

This question froze me. What does God think of me? I know He loves me. But what is the look on His face? What does God think about me?

As I began to brainstorm and formulate my answer, I began to feel these deep-seated ideas of failure and high standards. I saw God as my boss, looking at my performance records, flipping through pages, His lips
pursed and eyes down, scanning page after page of my successes and failures. After a moment, he leans back in His massive chair, looks me in the eye and tells me,
"I've given you a lot to work with, given you so many chances to succeed, and this is what you have to show for it? C'mon, Barreras. You and I both know that you can do better."

But I'm wrong.

"If you imagined God as anything but satisfied because of what Jesus has done for you, you have fallen in to a performance mindset. Because the gospel truth is that in Christ, God is deeply satisfied with you."

I had never been confronted for my performance mindset before. I always protected it and justified it, but the truth is, my performance mindset is unbiblical.

By living with this mindset, I diminish God's holiness and minimize His love as something that can be attained: something that I can attain if I'm good enough.

But that's a lie, isn't it?

There's nothing we can do to earn God's love. Before the universe had light or matter, God loved me. Before I had the ability to wipe the drool off of my chin, God loved me. Before I could even spell sin, God loved me. While I was living in my selfish sinful habits, God loved me. While I was giving my every breath trying to earn God's approval and love, God loved me.

...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
Romans 5:8

God loves me not because I deserve it or I did anything to earn it, but because that is who God is. Love is not an action that God can turn on or off. He doesn't comprehend it as an emotion or impulse. Love is a characteristic of God. God IS love. 

We will never be good enough to deserve God's love. We are flawed and fickle. God's love is eternal and unfair. While we were living in open and public rebellion of God, Jesus came and died for us purely out of love. 

Man...

That's heavy! The more I realize how broken and screwed up I really am, the more I see how incredibly and indescribably holy and perfect and spectacular God is. In all my fickle flaws and folly, God is love. More than anything else in the universe, more than the stars and the oceans, more than the planets and forests, God loves us. 

Why?

Because that's who He is. It doesn't make sense, and it's not fair. It's undeserved and unwarranted.

and I am so grateful.




Nate T B