You might find this hard to believe, but the Bible tells us that when you and I go astray, God’s first priority isn’t to get our behavior in line. Did you know that? God’s first priority is to reestablish our relationship with him. God’s love draws us to him. Our good behavior doesn’t draw him to us.
God knows that if he can help restore your relationship with him that your behavior will eventually follow. But if he focuses on your behavior, your guilt will push you away from him. It’s counterproductive.
A party for a prodigal.
You might know the story of the prodigal son that Jesus told…the son that ran away from home to live the party life only to return home when his money ran out.
The shock of that story is the boy didn’t return to an angry dad who punished him for his behavior like you’d expect. The boy returned to a dad that met him at the gate of the city with a hug and a kiss and a ring and a cloak and then threw a party for him.
Jesus used that story to teach us how God thinks about sin and guilt. Most dads wouldn’t welcome home their runaway son with a party! But God isn’t like that. He’s much more interested in his relationship to you than he is in getting you to obey a list of rules. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about rules. They have their place. It’s just not the first thing on his mind.
God’s kindness draws us to him, not our good behavior.
The first thing on God’s mind is to be your friend: to establish relationship. Then he works with you to address your behavior. The Bible tells us, “God’s kindness leads you back to God.” (Romans 2:4)
When you know that God is for you and not against you then you are confident to turn to him even when you’ve failed miserably. That’s why the Bible calls us to,
…come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. Hebrews 4:16
If God’s grace sounds like something you need right now, this verse gives you the confidence you need to ask for it. Can you think of a good reason to wait?
This post is adapted from “Forgiven…once and for all”. Get your free copy by subscribing to this blog.