I’m very lucky to lead a house bible study with a sweet friend of mine. Wednesday nights are one of my favorite times of the week getting to go over to Phi Mu and teach others about Jesus and watch Him show up and teach me each week without fail. This semester we’ve been walking through the book of 1 John, line by line. Each week we’ve been asked tough questions, but I just pray that truth gets spoken. Last night, we were in chapter 4, which talks about God’s love and how God loved us first. My co-leader said something very insightful, “God didn’t wait for us to get our act together.” Wow. I’ve been letting than sink in for the last 12 hours. He didn’t wait for me to get my act together. Why? Because if He did, He’d still be waiting. Christianity isn’t the try-harder faith; it isn’t the check-list faith of things you have to accomplish, I am given victory because I admit I can’t achieve it on my own. Crazy backwards in this world that tells me that the harder I work, the more I will achieve. Jesus achieve it all and handed it over to be as a gift that I have to receive in faith.
I so easily fall into trying to get my act together. I watch others do it every day, but the reality is, we don’t have to. Hear that, we don’t have to get our acts together for God. Even when we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He ran a long distance into our sin, greeted us with a kiss and walked us home (Luke 15). For me, that sin I’m constantly reminded of is performing. I try to act that I’ve got it all together. The story of the prodigal son has hit me very hard this semester. I’ve heard it lots of times, and I can usually identity with the older brother, but lately the imagery of the younger son, the prodigal, has brought me to tear. The younger brother, as we know in the story that is told in Luke, takes his inheritance, wastes it, has a turning point when he realizes he wants to go home, to be his father’s servant, because he’s no longer worthy of being his son. Here’s the image that I can’t let go of: “But while he (the son) 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). The father, God, ran a long distance to meet his son. God runs a long distance to meet each of us. He doesn’t wait until we’ve got our acts together, He runs into the mess. Then, He is filled with compassion, throws his arms around us and kisses us. Whatever sin I’m struggling through, I can be sure that God is going to meet me in it, have compassion on me and bring back home. I don’t have to get my act together first. I don’t have to even get my act half-together. He travels the distance.