God’s Love Is Given, Not Earned - Laura's Story
I was always pushing myself, trying to find the one thing that would change my life and make me close to God. Because I’m a rule-follower, I thought it was something I was or was not doing. I remember moments in my life when God spoke to me and used me, but I lived constantly trying to do the right thing.
A friend who attended Anderson University invited me to NewSpring while I was at college. I liked NewSpring because it was different, and I tapered off my attendance at my "home" church—where my parents made me go. I joined in 2003.
For a long time, following God seemed easy. I had a picture of what a Christian should be, and I met those criteria, so I thought I had it all figured out. Then I started having trouble at work, taking on more responsibility and facing greater challenges. And as life got harder, it became easier to doubt God’s love and my salvation. There was a nagging suspicion that something wasn't right between me and God.
Then one day in July 2011, I found myself reading Romans 9:15-16. "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." I actually got scared. I was afraid because I knew if salvation didn’t depend on what I did or did not do, then I was in trouble because that’s exactly what I was counting on.
The following Sunday, during a service at NewSpring, Pastor Perry spoke on having a heart of stone and trying to achieve God's love rather than receive it. For the first time, I understood all my life I had been trying to do the right thing, so God would love me, be close to me, lead me, bless me, and use me. I never really trusted Him or received His love with a heart of humility and surrender. I was tired of fitting a certain mold and measuring up to what I felt I needed to measure up to. And I heard Jesus speak to my heart saying, "You don't have to try to fit a certain mold anymore. You don't have to wear yourself out or exhaust yourself to fit the mold. I've already done the hard work."
I Gave Up
On that day, I gave it up. I surrendered my efforts and gave in to His mercy. The biggest difference is the sense of freedom that I had no idea I could experience. I don't hear that voice that there is something wrong. Reading the Bible means something now, and I can see God at work all around me. He is still teaching me that He isn’t after my behavior but my heart!
Jesus is teaching me a lot about having compassion; being merciful and learning to see people through His eyes. I have come to realize how easy it was for me to cast the first stone in judging others. My husband and I took a next step in joining a small group, which is something we had never done before.
I am so thankful that Jesus brought me to a place where I could accept my mistakes and receive the love He has for me. It’s funny. I’ve been in the church all my life, but I’m totally new at this Christ-follower thing.
Please register for a free account to view this content
We hope you have enjoyed the 10 discipleship resources you have read in the last 30 days.
You have exceeded your 10 piece content limit.
Create a free account today to keep fueling your spiritual journey!
Already a member? Login to iDisciple