despair

This week I spent some time reading the book of Ephesians.
A few things in chapter 5 really caught my attention.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2

I have always associated “walking in love” as having really good behavior. But it seems that has more to do with me being very hard on myself rather than what Paul is actually telling us.

Now, I’m not off of the hook from trying to “imitate God,” but I am completely pointed to the fact that when I fail to imitate God that there is a sacrifice that I’m to place my faith in. That sacrifice is Jesus.

My behavior always, at some point fails me.

Your behavior always, at some point fails you.

I do pretty good for periods of time, some longer or shorter depending on the area. But doing pretty good doesn’t do me a bit of good. In fact, my behavior and my failure to maintain “good behavior” is the thing that is supposed to point me back to my need for Jesus.

When I walk in love. I am walking with faith that Jesus has covered my sin, screw ups.

I heard from a friend today that found himself in one of those funks that we all fall into. His words, “I’m disgusted with myself.”

I’m having a pretty good day, behavior wise. If I focused on that it would have been easy for me to point back to him, “You need to do better.” I could have told him to correct the behavior. Instead of placing my behavior for the day as the standard for him. But a few days ago, my behavior failed me also.

I’m learning that Jesus sacrifice isn’t a reason for me to misbehave, nor is it something to shame myself with. Jesus gave himself up as a sacrifice willingly. In fact HANK (Hebrew Author Not Known) writes:

Hebrews 12:1–3 (ESV)

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Grow Weary
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

So as you are becoming a follower, just as I am, don’t despise yourself for the sin you fall into. Recognize the powerful love that Jesus had giving himself up with joy for the redemption and cleansing of your soul.

We may be tempted to shame. Jesus isn’t ashamed of us. He is glad to have us in relationship with Him.

Walk in His love, not in your shame.

That is motivation to live a life being transformed by the power of divine love!

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