3. I Cannot
“Jesus answered and said to him [Nicodemus], ‘ Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ ”
“But may it never be that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ, Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’”
It’s amazing how freed up I am from insecurities when I rest in God’s ways.
Everybody struggles. My most dominant struggle is “people pleasing”. Now, this isn’t so bad when our goal is to reflect Jesus to others. We slip into sin however, when we start living for the approval of others rather than resting in the truth of who we are in Christ.
Every struggle stems from a root. A lie.
So let’s trace mine back to find it’s root… the lie. I have a feeling it will expose other lies in the process.
I want people to like me.
I place my self-worth in what people think of me.
I think I’m a lesser Christian if I’m not working to maintain my “Christian Status”.
I think work = love & therefore no work = no love.
I think God needs me.
I work to prove to God I’m worth His time.
I’m afraid I’ll disappoint God.
I think I can lose God’s love.
WOW! Anything sound familiar? Such sick and twisted lies!
I’m convinced I’m not the only one who has believed these lies. In fact, I know I’m not. As a minister to college girls I have had so many conversations with girls who wrestle severely with trying to “earn God’s smile” — something that cannot be earned.
“I Cannot” is actually one of the co-writes on “Trust the Sunrise”. Bethany Schilling, Janine Kirk & Shannon McNairy were key in helping me articulate this truth:
WE CANNOT EARN THE LOVE OF GOD … IT IS A GIFT.
AND THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN LOSE GOD’S LOVE ONCE IT’S BEEN GIFTED TO US.
All three of these ladies had beautiful additions to this anthem. Bethany & I hashed out the structure, melody & concept. She is great at stating truth plainly & providing hope for people to cling to. Shannon brought up “Striving” being a common human struggle, while Janine brilliantly articulated our inability to add to the finished work of the cross. What a blessing it was to write with women who’s goal is the same: living In Christ’s love.
As a child of God, there is nothing so wonderful I can do to make Him love me MORE.
Likewise, there is nothing so terrible I can do to make God love me LESS.
So as I rest in God’s unchanging love for me, I am not tossed about by what others think of me. I am secure in the Love of the Father, the Grace of His Son, Jesus, and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit that is at work in me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
I rest in His grace. I rest in His ways. I hope you can rest in His ways too.
Donna Stuart, Bethany Solomon, Janine Kirk, Shannon McNairy
I could not see, And I could not breathe
Until I was freed, Until I was redeemed
So I cannot boast cause I did not know
Until I was shown, Until I was reborn
Father remind me please how this all goes
I cannot earn Your smile
I cannot work my way
Into the Love of Christ
Into amazing grace
You gave me the gift of life
You gave me the gift of faith
Let me receive this God
and rest in Your ways
So I will not strive. And I will not hide.
In You I’m alive. In You I’ll abide.
I want to believe. I want to receive
the way you see me, Righteous and clean
Not a thing I add, not a thing I bring
can enhance Your love, change Your thoughts of me
So in hope I’ll trust, to the cross I’ll cling to You
Every drop of blood spilled at Calvary was so I could live
was so I could sing so I give my life, lay down everything to You