I've read blogs for a really long time. Like, before social media came on the scene and made them all popular and stuff. And I love them so much. It's so much fun to read new perspectives and opinions, and have your mind opened to new ideas by "regular" people.
I remember one of the first "faith and lifestyle" blogs that I came across had a huge theme of our relationship with God being a romance. While I was somewhat intrigued by the idea, there was a definite part of me that said "Um, I don't want to think of God as an invisible boyfriend. It's weird." But, I kept reading, because I was taken by the depth of the writer's sureness of God's love for her. It was refreshing, and even though I had been following Christ for essentially my whole life, it was something I'd never felt in the same way.
Since then, I've realized that what stands between me and accepting God's love is straight up legalism. Legalism is such a sneaky thing. So often, we look at churches, at people, and at other Christian movements, and shake our heads at their legalistic behavior; their rule following, subtle rejection, and lack of freedom and joy. It's the easiest thing to identify in others, but it's so easy to have it creep into our own lives without our noticing.
For me, part of that comes from that I tend to think of God as a parent. Now, please know, that I'm not complaining about my parents one bit in talking about this. I have the most loving and caring parents. They gave me so many wonderful things growing up, above and beyond what I needed to survive. But, as in any healthy parent-child relationship, what I would get would be somewhat contingent on my behaviour. I mean, it would just be irresponsible, to give a child her allowance for doing her chores, when she hadn't done a single chore all week. Everyone needs to learn that actions have consequences, and that bad behaviour doesn't end in rewards.
However, when that paradigm is over-applied to God, it can end in joy-sucking legalism. For the longest time, even though I would have disagreed in principle, my sub-conscious would worry that if I didn't behave "properly", by spending time in God's word and in prayer, by being kind and generous and unselfish, and by loving others, I would miss out on good things.
This way of thinking isn't entirely wrong; God does give us guidelines on how to live, and life is genuinely better when we follow them . It does miss the key point of the gospel though. There are so many things that God is to us; provider, redeemer, protector, father, lover of our souls (I'm going to be honest and say that I still feel weird saying that!), but the overarching theme in all of them, is love. His love for us is so much bigger than our human hearts can fathom; it's not just romantic love, or parent-child love. It's unchanging. It forgives freely. His delight in us isn't based on our actions. Nothing that we could possibly do could alter it, for better or for worse. He died for us while we were still sinners. He gives us good things, without us having to earn them.
I'm not saying that how we live doesn't matter, but I am saying that they're is joy in realizing that his gifts are free. His love is separate from our actions. We are free from striving to earn his favour. We only need to accept his love.
For the Lord your God is among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all of your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Hi! I'm Jayda. I blog over at Avocado Grove, where I write about the things that make my life fantastic; faith, fashion, food, and anything in between. I'm a wife and dog momma, and critically acclaimed chocolate chip cookie chef (according to my husband, anyway.) I love having my own little corner of the internet, and the relationships I've made through it!