Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
I confess it. I’m afraid–mostly afraid of failure. I don’t think that I have what it takes to be successful. Now, I don’t just mean in a career or business. I mean rather in so many things that really matter. I’m afraid of not being able to love people who don’t love me. I’m afraid of not being able to love my wife as she deserves. When we were raising our kids, I was afraid of not being able to give them what they needed to to be emotionally and spiritually healthy. As a pastor, I’m afraid of not being what the church needs me to be, of not leading effectively, of not teaching the Bible rightly.
I have found great freedom in simply admitting that I am not able to do any of those things sufficiently well. I will always be blameworthy. I will always to some degree be a failure. And, when there is success, I can never take credit for it. It is always a gift from God.
This is what I love about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not a call for me to do better–I can’t. It is a call for me to believe better. To believe–really believe–that my level of performance does not matter! This is why the Bible says that men are scandalized by the Gospel. It’s crazy! It’s impractical! The Gospel tells me to let myself be loved and accepted–just as I am, not as I should be. I will never in this life be what I should be. And Jesus says, “That’s OK! That what I died for. I died not only for the wrong that you have done but also for the good you can’t do! I want your deepest awareness to be that you are loved, not that you are responsible!”
BUT, such love changes us–infallibly. We WILL respond to such love with service and sacrifice, goodness and godliness. It becomes our joy to do for the One who has done so much for us. This is gospel obedience–glad and free.