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Everyone fails, and everyone is challenged in this life, but it is so important to not allow these things to speak to us about who we are. We must be very careful who gets to tell us who and what we are!
Following Jesus is, in a very real way, a decision to let God, alone, tell who we really are. And what does he say about those of us who have chosen to follow Christ? “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners” Romans 4:5. God says we are beautiful because we trust in him, not because of what we do.
This does not conflict with the challenge of 1 John calling us to practice our righteousness. I have written quite a bit about the difference between pretending to be something you are not, and practicing something that you are. Once we give up our own life, and choose to follow him, to obey him, at all costs, then he literally gives us a new nature–we are truly born again into a “start over” person in God. So now, rather than pretending to be better than we are, we are taught by the Scriptures, and we encourage one another, to simply practice our true nature which is in agreement with God’s heart. Practicing let’s our true nature out!
My son will get up early in the morning and practice cross-country running. He will not pretend to run, because he really can run. He will practice what he knows how to do, and become even better at his gift at running. He will, however, have to choose to let his gift out by the will to practice. Why don’t we get up tomorrow and rather than trying to be good at reading God’s word, or praying, or loving on our family, why don’t we simply practice what we are already gifted to do … and get even better at it!?
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