Many times as a christian I feel the burden of having to live a righteous life, to live up to this standard of having Jesus as my Lord and personal savior on a daily basis. Sometimes it feels like I carry the responsibility for maintaining a relationship with God; like God is this ever loving Father whose arms of forgiveness and welcome are always open and I am the one who keeps rejecting his love and so I need to keep running into His arms daily. Well… isn’t that how the gospel of salvation is presented to many?
This week I read something from scripture that has been nagging at my core:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16 NIV
This paints a different picture of God than what I am used to: a passive God waiting for his errant children to come home like the prodigal son. Speaking of the prodigal son, lets take a brief look at the character of the father in that story.
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Luke 15:20 NIV
The father was not passively waiting for the son’s return. He had been actively watching out for his son on the daily, anticipating his son’s return. And when he returned, the father run to him and embraced him. There was no passiveness in the father’s actions at all. The son was going to ask to be reinstated not as a son but as a servant in the father’s household and yet the father demonstrated John 15: 16 with his actions “you did not choose me but I, your father, chose you when you were still a long way off”
This is what God does for each and everyone of us his children everyday. He chooses us each and every day. We do not carry the responsibility for living out our salvation by ourselves or have to make the first move all the time. Everyday when God renews his steadfast love and mercies over you, He has chosen you; he has made the first move by running to you with open arms. When the sun kisses your face in the morning, God himself has kissed you with his mercy and he says “today I have chosen you and appointed you to bear fruits- to show the world what it means to have a heavenly father who runs up to you while you are a long way off”
Here’s my encouragement: Sometimes the responsibility for living right and godly feels tedious. Many times I feel like a fraud because I do not feel like I measure up to the standards that I so boldly blog about. I feel like I am always running to God with my inadequacies. Today, I am encouraged that even when I run to God on a daily, the distance I run is shorter than I should be running because God beats me to the punch and starts running towards me with his renewed love and mercy the moment I open my eyes! Even when I was a long way off… he started running.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 2:22-23 ESV