I was a Pharisee. That is, one inside my heart.
Pharisees held tight to the Old Testament law and led with an iron fist of rules. The result – no one could measure up to their standards. (See Matthew 23)
That was me about twenty-five years ago. Any Pharisee would have been proud of me. I was knee-deep in the study of scripture and condemned every inch of my heart into obedience. Plagued by fear, I was literally afraid to sin. Because if I did, I might not make it to heaven.
They might have even applauded me, as I made a monument out of my shame – A statue with stony fingers pointing back at the pond scum of my soul.
Then, He beckoned to differ with me.
John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have
eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;
and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.
He taught me that I needed to go beyond obedience because perfection wasn’t the point.
I began to come to Him with the things in my heart. The things that hurt. The things that ache. Every sin, fear or lie I could find and hand them over to Him. I did it daily, piece by piece, until I cleaned up of the backyard of my heart – the place where I once treated precious things like trash, and let the Rottweiler’s chew on.
By the grace of God, my heart became a sanctuary fit for company – my God, my neighbor and myself.
The time Jesus spent on the cross now counts for my life, as I stretch out my flawed little self among a meadow of blossoms, waiting for the fruit, and bask in the Sonshine.
I am able to let Him love me, by my worth. So I may see that same worth in others, and love others as I love myself.
Because we are worth everything to Him.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real
rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced
rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company
with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 – The Message