I recently read the following quote, which caught me like a sucker punch:
Wow. I needed that. Correction: I need that every day, again and again.
I’m constantly aware that I’m not the person I should be. I should pray more. Some people are prayer warriors. Not me. My prayer life is sporadic and spastic. Some days I’m kicking butt and taking names, praying with a fervency that surely makes the heavens tremble. Other days, I’m so tired all I can come up with is, “Lord, I really need help today.”
There is massive gap between the dad I want to be and the dad I am. I fight and struggle and strive to faithfully teach my kids the Bible. I fight against the impatience that constantly courses through me. But I’m aware of about a hundred ways I could be a better, more loving, more godly dad.
And don’t even get me started on evangelism. If a pastor preaches a message on the need to grow in evangelism, I’m down front, asking for prayer before the sermon even ends. I colossally suck at evangelism.
The gap between who I am and who I should be is large. Gaping. Unmissable. Unmistakable.
I tend to think that if I improve in certain areas, God will love me more. If I improve by 10% in the dad category, God will love me 10% more. If I can bump up my evangelism quota by 3%, God will bump up his love for me by 3%. More work on my part will result in more love on God’s part…or something like that.
Of course, this line of thinking then raises the following question: when will I ever be the person I should be?
When will I ever be the husband I should be? When will I ever sufficiently read God’s word and pray? When will I ever be the evangelist I’m supposed to be?
The answer is: never. Well, technically that’s not true. I will be the person I should be when Jesus returns and fully sanctifies me. When that happens, there will be no gap between the person I am and the person I should be.
But while I yet live, I will always be caught in the gap. Always falling short. Always failing. Striving yet stumbling. Fighting yet falling.
And yet, God loves me as I am, not as I should be. God’s love for me isn’t at 50%. It won’t slowly increase as I become more like the person I should be. Right now, God’s love for me is at 100%. The full, massive, delightful weight of God’s love rests upon me, and it’s not going anywhere.
I cannot make God love me any more. Let me beat that into my head again: I cannot make God love me anymore.
And so I will continue to run hard after Christ. I will continue to fight against my sin. But when Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, I will point to Jesus and say, “He is my righteousness! I’m not the person I should be, but Jesus was the person I should be!”