In an effort to keep the kids focused and get them in bed after a long evening, I told them that the first one to get their pajamas on, brush their teeth and get it bed would get a prize. My daughter quickly began tackling the challenge. My son however, melted into a puddle on the bathroom floor, began to cry and said, “Mommy, I can’t do it. I can’t do all that. Emma always wins and I always lose.”
My son was so discouraged from just listening to the challenge that he didn’t even try. He was convinced, from past experiences, that he wouldn’t be able to finish before his sister.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
For years I worried and felt guilty about not living or praying the right way – the Christian way. All the rules, the commandments, the guidelines and expectations it felt to overwhelming. I knew I could never do all those things well enough and consistently enough to please God so He could use me for to His purpose. I felt defeated, inadequate and my walk with Christ suffered because of it.
However, through years of bible study, Christian mentors, prayer and God’s grace, He was finally able to open my eyes to the truth – His Truth! God doesn’t expect perfection from us. He knows we can’t win the race – at least not without Him. He wants us to come to Him messy, confused and uncertain, but with a desire to seek Him and learn His ways. Does that lift a 1,000 pound weight off your shoulders like it does mine? Grace isn’t earned through perfect prayer, following every commandment, going to every church meeting, giving to charity or any other action. Grace is what God has already given us.
Are you trying to earn God’s grace? It can’t be done, my friend. It’s like begging to be released from prison when the door has been open all along and all you had to do was walk through it. God is pleased with you! Be bold in believing that truth so that you can go out and share His truth with others.