I approached God this morning on my knees. As my king, I approach the throne as his servant. Humbly requesting attendance with him. And I asked him to hold his blessings and his instructions for me until I confessed my sins to him.
I had to explain that I had sinned against him and his kingdom, and as a result he may need to reconsider his position. These very sins prevent me from being an effective servant in his kingdom, and before I continue to serve he must know of my transgressions so that he may judge me and determine my usefulness.
My greatest sin is pride. I so often see myself as more important than I am, and in a position of authority greater than I have been given.
By nature, I am a sluggard. I do not want to do anything, especially those things that are difficult. I have been given a responsibility to care for my body, and even have a gym membership that would allow me opportunity to better myself for his glory. But because I am lazy and selfish, I find it very difficult to adhere to any regular program.
You see, it would appear that he does not hold me accountable for my actions at this time. While he has given me many commands that he likes and expect me to follow, he does not condemn me for my failure to do so. And this, my friends, is the very message of Grace.
We so often talk about Justice and how others are not inclined to do the hard things, or to do what’s right, if there is not a compulsion to do so. If there is no consequence for lack of obedience, then there is no motivation for an individual to be obedient or pursue righteousness.
And yet, my Lord has made it so very clear to me this morning that this is exactly the grace that I receive every day. For there is no consequence for me failing to be obedient to him, except that I miss out on the blessings and fruits of a relationship with him that comes only through such obedience.
Still, is that enough? Is my love for God good enough to push me through the difficult things? Is it enough to keep me from doing the things I ought not to do? It should be enough. But alas, it is not! Indeed, I continue to do the things that I ought not to do. Just as the Apostle Paul discusses in his letter to the Christians in Rome, I also fail to do the things that I should do, while doing the things that I should not do.
So why are my expectations of others so much higher then they are for myself? Why do I demand that others meet my expectations, that they do things that they don’t want to do in order to show me love and respect? Are they not selfish people also? What would compel them to do things against their will? Yes, I would like them to show me their love through their actions of obedience, and through their lack of actions against me.
But what a double standard I set! Where is my grace extended to them?
My Lord says,
“With the measure you use, it will be measured against you.”
I must, therefore, seek the Lord with all my heart mind soul and strength. And I must seek first his kingdom and his righteousness
I must confess all of my specific sins to him. I am more than just a sinner, I have sinned specifically and intentionally (as a result of my continuing selfishness), and I must leave no stone unturned, I must give him my deepest secrets so that there are none left to reveal. There can be nothing left of me when I approach the throne of God. He is my king and my Lord, and I cannot approach the throne with soil on my heart.
And in some cases, my greatest sin is bitterness or frustration with others who fail to meet my double standard of expectations. While I am in the midst of condemning those who persecute me, I dare approach the throne of God and beg his forgiveness of me.
As I am reminded today, he has already forgiven me for everything now and forever. There is no longer any consequences for my actions or inactions against him. Instead I have been given freedom to choose everyday in every moment. And there is no condemnation against me for anything.
My response to this should be glorious Thanksgiving, celebration, and ongoing worship of my king. Instead, I continue to stumble through my day barely even noticing his presence. What a Wretched Man I am. Who can save me from myself? There is only one! My savior and my king. Come, Lord Jesus, come!
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”