If your Christian walk has been anything like mine, then you have probably struggled with this same issue as I have. You can remember that moment when you realized your overwhelming wickedness that comes from the sin nature we were all born with. You felt hopeless and you realized you needed a saviour. Much like a person stranded in the ocean needing someone to come rescue them. When you were introduced to the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and heard about His free gift of Salvation, you were overwhelmed by His love and grace, and you accepted Him into your heart and asked Him to be Lord and Saviour of your life. You confessed your sins and felt the beauty of His unconditional forgiveness as it washed you clean. That was the beginning of my walk with God. And maybe it sounds very similar to yours. But somewhere along the way we forgot about His grace and started to pursue His approval. At first we knew it was foolish to even try and attempt to earn His grace. But deep down we just desperately wanted to be good, and ended up believing the lie that we would never be really good until we could rely on ourselves again to do good. This is what Paul called “rebuilding the old system” in Galatians 2:16-17 right after he says three times that we can’t be made right with God by obeying the law, but only through faith in Jesus Christ.
I had so much guilt in my life that was just from me being trapped in that thinking. I hated how bad I was, and was ashamed of the mistakes I constantly made in spite of the constant mercy and grace Jesus Christ would show me. I so badly wanted to get to the point where I was good enough for God. But as God started to fill me with a deep revelation of His love, I started to see how God sees me, and it became clear that my problem was that I was trying to do something that not only was impossible, but based on God’s view of me, didn’t even make sense! You see, trying to be good enough for God is an idea that is based on a false assumption that our goodness is based on what we do, or don’t do. But the Bible makes it clear that our goodness comes from the One who made us, and the fact that He made us in His image. Any goodness in us is solely from God, and because of God. When we accept the fact that we cannot in and of our selves be good enough. And that God doesn’t love us because of what we do, but because of who we are, children of God. Then we stop focusing on trying to earn God’s love, and we can start focusing on accepting His love into our lives. We start allowing God to show His faithfulness to us and we begin to trust Him.
It is hard enough to be a true follower of Christ in our society, let alone a firefighter who is a true follower of Christ. It takes a certain type of pride, and competitiveness to get someone to do what firefighters do. That pride is useful when directed towards being a proficient firefighter, but it can cause a lot of bad behaviour if not kept in check. Peer pressure within the fire hall makes it hard to say no to the guys who you train with, who may not only dislike Jesus, but may hate Him because of all the stuff that they see. This is why it is so important for Christian firefighters to start to realize that God already accepts them, and they don’t have to prove themselves anymore. Then they can start to rely on God’s goodness, and not their own. This translates into more and more Christian firefighters all over Canada being bold for Jesus Christ in their halls. 1Jn 4:17-20 tells us that to grow in love for God we have to abide in Him. Then His perfect love will expel our fears. And then we can be bold and share Jesus Christ with our fellow firefighters who haven’t known the love of Jesus Christ in their lives. So let’s stop trying to be good enough for God and let’s start accepting the fact that we are already as loved as we ever will be by God. Let’s stop doing things FOR the love of God and let’s start doing things BECAUSE of the love of God that we allow into our lives.
I encourage you this week to take some time in your devos and ask God these questions:
1) God why do you love me?
2) God is there a wrong view I have of your love for me that is holding me back in my relationship with you?
3) God what is one way I can be bold for you in my fire hall?