It's Never to Late to Start Over
After celebrating my birthday in August, I was looking at old picture albums and reflecting on what I used to do and who I used to be. I had just finished my first year working on high school campuses in full-time ministry. I wish I’d understood the liberating truth that God is the one who begins His work in us, and He will complete it. I thought it was up to me. I believed God’s love was based on my performance, and I wanted to show Him how much I loved Him by serving others.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
If I could talk to that younger version of myself today, I’d tell her she will fall down over and over, but rather than understand the love of God less, she will fall in Love with God even more.
I’d let her know her heart will break, but she’ll survive (after some Tom and Jerry’s ice-cream). It will change how she sees others, not as causes to be saved, but as people to be loved. I’d tell her to remove the merciless list of spiritual “to-do’s” she’s carried inside because she needed to get everything perfectly right. I’d tell her it really is OK not to be perfect because Jesus has already clothed her in His righteousness.
Because I was around “professional Christians on staff with CRU” I tried for years to be the perfect Christian too. It would take many broken roads and heartaches to begin to grasp this truth from Sheila Walsh who says, “We’re not called to pursue perfection; we’re called to pursue Christ, who is perfect.”
I don’t know what situation you’re facing right now, my friend, but know that you are loved by God just as you are. It’s never been up to us to become perfect. Christ did that on the cross for us. As Philippians 1:6 tells us, “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
If you feel you’ve fallen too many times, remember you get to start over and over and over again. Grace is undeserved favor. It doesn’t have an expiration date. I read an old Chinese proverb that said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” With God, it’s never too late to start … again and again and again.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me today. So often I feel as if I’m not good enough, but I thank You for loving me as much on the days when I think I got everything wrong as on the days when I think I got everything right. Thank You I get to come to You just the way I am, imperfections and all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Romans 8:38, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” (NLT)
Lamentations 3:22-23, “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (NLT)