I wrote in another blog post how frustrated I was as a kid.
I was so busy trying to be the good boy, the one who played by all the rules, who looked up to and measured up to all the standards of the teachers, what was expected of me, what was placed on me.
If I was a good boy, I was good. If I failed, I was a bad boy, etc.
This idea of being unconditionally loved, cared for, graced first, and then responding to that love -- I had never known that.
Such thinking, such beauty, such GOSPEL, was completely unknown to me.
For all the years that I had been going to church, reading my Bible, listening to sermons, following the rules blah, blah, blah -- I never knew how much He loves me.
I do not write "He loved me", because His love for me is eternal, never-ending, and very present, too.
I was so busy trying to be good, and yet failing at it, or just plain having no fun.
The frustration I felt, too, when I saw kids who did not play by the rules get all the wins. "That's not fair!" I used to think.
Grace is not fair, and we are called from the beginning to grow in grace!
God is not looking for me to be a "good boy" in my own efforts.
I can't even become that!
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" (Romans 3:10)
It is written. None of us our righteous, good.
Sin cannot be overcome by our efforts. It requires grace!
"Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)
Jesus did not come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live.
Or, Jesus did not come to make bad boys good, but to make dead boys real!
Just like Pinocchio in that fairytale!
As long as he tried in his own efforts to become real, he failed.
When he rested and just believed, he became real!
Don't believe me?
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
Life is better than playing by "rules." Ten Commandments tell you want not to do -- and they actually awaken sin! (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)
I kept thinking that life was some kind of exam. I needed to put myself in the right place, at the right time to make things work.
Jesus -- He is my life! (John 14:6; Colossians 3:4)
Life is what He has invited me to receive!
Today, I don't try to be a good boy. I know that I am loved, adopted by my loving Father!
I have His spirit, the spirit of adoption. He is my ABBA!
And I am His SON!
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." (1 John 3:1)
That makes me alive, real!