Last week I was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at the Liberate Conference. You can find out about this annual conference online at liberate.org. It was a refreshing time for me personally, and I am grateful to God that my church affords me the opportunity to get away for conferences like this to recharge my spiritual batteries!
A couple of things struck me at the conference that I wanted to pass along. The first was a verse of Scripture that pastor Matt Chandler shared, and it comes from Galatians 1:15-16. It states:
“God, who set me apart even at my mother’s womb & called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me…”
Question: Do you know when God was pleased to reveal Jesus to Paul (formerly Saul)? He did this while Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute and kill Christians! God revealed Jesus to Paul while Paul was up to his neck in sin and hatred toward Jesus. THAT is grace! God did not wait for Paul to get his act together before He bestowed His grace upon him. God did it IN THE MIDDLE OF PAUL’S REBELLION! And He was PLEASED to do it!
That makes us shake our heads because we don’t operate that way. We operate (with ourselves and others) by saying, “once you meet my expectations THEN I will forgive you.” Yet God FREELY forgave Paul smack dab in the middle of his rebellion. That is amazing grace!
The second statement that struck me powerfully was Matt Chandler’s statement which was:
We buy into the thought that “a better version of me” will satisfy us & God. AND IT WON’T. It is not some future version of you that God rejoices in. It is you NOW, as your life is hidden with Christ in God.
We typically believe (myself included) that God is merely tolerating who we are right now but that He is going to be much happier with us down the road when we FINALLY get our act together. We believe that we will be much happier and content with ourselves when we get our lives FULLY together…
That day will NEVER come on this side of eternity! There will always be broken pieces in your life on this side of heaven. God ALLOWS those broken pieces to remain so that we will come to HIM for healing and change. He has no intention of ever allowing us to FULLY ARRIVE in this life. He has every intention of allowing us to remain DEPENDENT upon Him because He is your heavenly Father. This is why God has called us into a RELATIONSHIP with Him. It is so that He can show us just how powerful He is to overcome the brokenness in our lives–things we tend to think we could never be delivered from. He is concerned about your remaining indwelling sin, but He is JUST as concerned with the fact that you are His through Jesus.
The point remains, if God has saved you, He is happy with you TODAY, not tomorrow! Allowing this awareness to seep into your spiritual bloodstream—that you are FOUND IN CHRIST—will liberate you from feeling like you have to always be performing for God’s acceptance… and it will change the way you view and treat other people.
Think on these things!!