Oh my sweet little Rose! It’s a good thing she is so cute! At three years old, that curly little redhead can be super ornery! After she spills her drink, throws a tantrum, hits her brother, tells me “NO!” or spills red juice all over grandma’s carpet (thank goodness it wasn’t my house!), she will look up with those big blue eyes and say, “I promise I will never ever do that again mommy.”
In her own sweet way, she is saying sorry and never wants to disappoint me again. So, with great sincerity in her heart, and great skepticism in mine, we hug and move on. She truly hates to disappoint me. Her little heart is so sensitive to what makes me happy and what gets her in trouble.
The feelings Rosie expresses on her face seem to be the feelings I hide in my heart. I find myself longing for my heavenly Father’s approval, never wanting to disappoint. Yet, with this desire to never disappoint my God, I can easily begin to think of Him as my Judge. The kind of judge that sits behind the bench waiting to pass judgment, to show His upmost disapproval of me, and tell me how, yet again, I have failed Him.
The most recent occurrence, for example, was trying to prepare for teaching a Sunday school lesson. The week was almost over as I sat down at the kitchen table to pray and study.
I began to pray, “God please forgive me for not being as prepared as I should to teach this lesson. Lord I pray You would move in the hearts of all who attend even though I have failed you. I don’t deserve your bailout but please don’t hold back Your knowledge because of me. Bless your people and bless this lesson.”
In the middle of my prayer God spoke truth to my heart. His truth flooded in so swiftly to correct and cut away the false thinking and give Grace even though I didn’t deserve it.
He spoke three main truths to me:
- I love you! I want the best for you! I don’t want you to fail. I am your biggest cheerleader! Don’t label me as a harsh judge when all I have ever given you is love and grace. Yes, I disciple you when you need it, but only because of LOVE!
- My word can stand-alone! I don’t need you to study for hours and hours for my word to come alive. In fact, I don’t need you at all! All you simple have to do is open my word with a pure heart and my Spirit will do the rest (This was by no means, God letting me off the hook! He was putting me in my place because my pride was getting in the way. I need to study, but it is always God who speaks and moves the heart of His people, not me!).
- I want you to want to spend time with me (sound familiar?). Your lack of preparedness shows the priority you place on spending time with My Word and Me. I’m after your heart, not your brain. Give me your heart and you will long to spend more and more time in My Word. Your love for Me should be your motivation. Not your warped thinking of my judgmental attitude.
That morning I got more than I bargained for in my prayer time! God scolded me and whipped me back into shape, back into remembering His love for me.
Now I could say, “I sorry Lord. I promise I will never do that again!” but God knows that truth and He will have to remind me again and again.
So I want to remind you too. God loves you! He wants the very best for you! He longs to spend time with you and lavish His words of grace into your heart. He is your biggest cheerleader!
He is our Judge, but he doesn’t judge us with human motives or thoughts or even human love. He judges us with a love we can’t even comprehend because His son Jesus stands in the gap for us.
May you remember His love for you today and let that be the motivation that moves you!