This is the story of a girl, a wife actually, who married the perfect man. Well, he definitely seemed perfect at first!
As the years went by, he seemed much more difficult to live with. He was constantly expecting the girl to be perfect, even though he knew that she wasn’t. When she made mistakes, he always showed her the right way, but always demanded that she make things right. He always seemed to be personally offended, and nothing she did was ever enough to make him love her unconditionally. He was perfect, and he was committed to making sure that she knew she wasn’t. She began to see herself as nothing but a failure. She really started to think that she was unlovable. Her failures and shortcomings had begun to define her. She was committed to him, so she remained in the relationship. She would recommit herself to him again and again, telling herself that things would get better and that one day he would finally be satisfied with her as a wife.
That day never came. She never lived up to his list of rules. She felt trapped and hopeless.
Not too many people were upset when that man was hit by a truck and died as he crossed the street.
At first her heart was sad, since she had spent so much of her life with that man. She had, in fact, fallen in love with him, even though it seemed like a one-way love. But she was exhausted, and she couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief when she heard that he had died.
Some time later she met another man. This man loved her deeply, even her shortcomings. He knew everything about her, and loved her anyways. He didn’t have a long list of rules for her to follow. He saw something in her that she never saw herself. He loved her in such a way that she actually began to believe that she was lovable, and not only that, but that she could live a life of depth and beauty and significance. She began to blossom as he spoke love and encouragement into her life. He made her a better woman by loving who she was and seeing all that she could be. She was so motivated by his love that she forgot all about her first husband and his rules, judgments, and disappointments. He was gone, and she no longer belonged to him. She was committed to her new husband, and he was irrevocably committed to her, no matter what.
That’s the gospel of grace as seen in Romans 7.
We have been freed from the law, and been given to Christ. We are no longer captives to a list of rules and expectations that we can never meet. Instead, we are loved by God and seen as holy because of what Christ has done for us. Our new motivation is love, not fear of failure.
If you’re making resolutions this year, especially about your walk with God, consider this… focus on God and what he has done for you, how he loves you already, and how he sees you. Let His mercy, not fear of his wrath, motivate you to please him.
This year, instead of recommitting yourself to God, focus on his never-ending commitment to you. Let that compel you to action.