By Carol Round
GROVE, OK (ANS) — “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.’” — John 20:25
Are you a doubting Thomas? Maybe you’re a believer, but you doubt God could ever love someone like you. Maybe you’ve been ridiculed or bullied, struggling with your self-worth.
As a child, were you told you weren’t good enough? Did you become a performance addict with a need to prove you were likable, lovable and valuable? Do you know you’re not alone, today?
Pastor Chip Ingram says, “Many of us struggle with conceptualizing the enduring, sacrificial, infinite, and unconditional love of our heavenly Father. I think this is because we always try to put God’s love into our own human terms—and our terms always fall far short.
“Our human relationships have conditioned us to measure love by ‘ifs,’ ‘maybes,’ and ‘becauses,’” he adds. “‘I’ll love you if you do this.’ Or, ‘I love you because you did that.’”
As a “recovering” Type A personality, I struggled, believing I wasn’t good enough. I performed to others’ expectations, demanding more and more of myself. However, I was left empty after the initial euphoria of my accomplishments waned.
I was in my late 40s, when a simple prayer led me on my current path. I was lost. I cried out for God’s help. And, He answered.
Author Philip Yancey once said, “Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us. Ask people what they must do to get to heaven and most reply, ‘Be good.’ Jesus’ stories contradict that answer. All we must do is cry, ‘Help!’”
Even then, some of us still struggle to believe God’s unconditional love exists. Instead, we keep trying to earn His grace through good works. Others assume God only loves them when they’re reading so many chapters of the Bible each day or memorizing scripture. Too often, we have a “here’s my checklist—mark it off” approach to our relationship with God.
Author Christine Caine says, “I will never forget the freedom I felt when I finally stepped off the performance treadmill and reveled in God’s acceptance of me just as I was.
“When I stopped trying to make myself right with God through my own good works,” she adds, “I discovered His grace. I didn’t have to earn His acceptance. I didn’t have to live a perfect life.”
I can relate. Can you? But, like Christine, I’ve been changed by God’s grace—His amazing grace—that picks me up when I stumble and fall. I don’t have to be ashamed of my failures. God loves me just as I am.
When I embraced His love, it was easier for me to let go of the “need to please others” syndrome, the need for validation. I choose to please God through obedience because I love Him and He loves me, unconditionally.
Are you a doubting Thomas? Are you still trying to earn your way into Heaven by being “good enough”? Why not get off the merry-go-round and accept God at His word?
The bible teaches us, As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Romans 3:10, and Romans 3:23 states, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Now is the time to “confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) If you’ve never done that, or if you need to recommit yourself to follow God, then please don’t wait any longer. Ask Him now in a prayer like this:
Father, please forgive me for my many mistakes. I know that I haven’t always been the person that I should be. I accept the sacrifice of your Son Jesus for my sin and I ask you to forgive me and help me to live the rest of my life for you. You alone have the answers and can teach me of your plan for my life.
In Jesus name I pray,
Congratulations, if you have prayed this prayer the Bible says, “Therefore, if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cr 5:17)
If you’ve prayed this prayer for the first time or are renewing your commitment to the Lord, please let us know so that we can pray for you as you start your new life with Jesus.