by Sandra Allen Lovelace      @SandraALovelace      #WallflowerWomen

You wake up in a sweat with sheets wrapped around you like duct tape restraints. Uncertainty and Consequences chased you down a dark alley and demanded “Your money or you life” at the point of a .357 Magnum. You gave them all you had, but they weren’t satisfied so they trussed you up and threw you in the back of a van. Dirty Harry never appeared.

When your breathing slows, the culprit appears and you pray. “God, I really need that job … want that car … can’t lose that friend. I’ve been asking, but I’m not sure You hear me.” The verse from yesterday’s devotion comes to mind.

Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:24).* “Oh. I see. My faith isn’t up to snuff.”

Defeat joins the two thieves and you collapse on your back. In silence you stare at the ceiling, a hostage of despair.

Everyone’s experience may not be as dramatic, but distress on some level threatens all true followers of Jesus whenever we sense we’re falling short of God’s expectations. It’s just that most of us either don’t know or lose track of what those are. Let’s start with the foundation that He’s not after perfection. Then what?

We know from 1 Samuel 16:7 that while people evaluate our appearance, God examines our hearts. Jeremiah 12:3 clarifies the key element as our heart’s attitude toward Him. Once the chosen come to Christ, we’re no longer under the Pass or Fail system based on our behavior.

Let’s all cheer because only Jesus can earn that Pass.

Rather, we enter the divine relationship where God measures our hearts. How well do we, like David, turn our deepest parts toward Him with affection and confidence? How much are we, like Rahab, trusting what we know of Him to step out in faith? How active is our honest intention, as it was for Sarah, to please Him in all we think and say and do?

Just like us, none of these people were perfect. Yet each one is named in the Hall of Faith of Hebrews 11. God monitored the condition of their hearts to grow them according to the design of His will and purpose. And Paul reports that He watches over us in the same manner.

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

Be encouraged! There aren’t any massive, immovable, impossible standards or expectations to meet. God knows where each heart is and accepts us right there. He simply checks our progress and uses everything in and around us to heal and grow us at His perfect pace. He cares. He’s listens. He tends.

You don’t need to hope Dirty Harry comes to the rescue the next time any number of nightmare bad guys start chasing you. Stop and turn your heart toward God with all the affection and confidence, trust and determination to please Him you can muster, and KNOW Jesus is there to vaporize every enemy with grace and truth.

What nightmares are attacking you?
It’s time to pull out your spiritual weapons and let ‘em have it.

Sandra

*references are NASB, unless otherwise noted

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks Sandra! I needed the remnder. And you said it well. Feeling inadequate does have a personality, and, like splashing grape juice on a cotton t-shirt, hard to remove. But I’m glad the Bible is more powerful!

    1. Amen, Marlene. Using your analogy I guess we could say God’s Truth is a type of divine Tide Spot Remover. 😉

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