My childhood goal was to be a “good girl,” taking perfectionism to a whole new level. I belonged to every club, was an honor student, and felt incredibly guilty if I did not have an hour of quiet time with God every evening—praying and reading my Bible.
I knew the Truth that God would not love me less for any sin I committed. This was not hard for me to grasp since I thought I had not committed any sin too hellacious at this point. However, I was dead set on God loving me more. When I died, I fully expected St. Peter to open wide those gates and scream, “You guys will never believe who’s here!” Then of course Jesus would smile warmly, and everyone would applaud at all my varied accomplishments for the Lord. It was all about me!
My friends and I would frequently talk about “spiritual highs” at church or youth camp thinking about how we could keep that fervor going. We viewed our journey as a spiritual scale from 0-100. Before you are saved your sin is so great that you are in the negatives. God saves you and you begin with a clean slate. When you become a Christian you are at 0— all your sins are forgiven.
Then, your goal is to climb up that spiritual ladder. You have great times, then low points of sin, then you climb up again. The goal was to have God pleased with you and impressed with your devotion. As a “good girl,” I knew all this.
Romans 8:1 begins by stating, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” This I got. I knew that my chart started at 0, and that I was free from the penalty of sin. Romans 8 continues talking about living by sin or by the Spirit of God. I understood this too. There were times I was doing better than others, hence the peaks and valleys. However, I came across a Truth that rocked my belief system at its core. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:16).
Ok, I’m God’s daughter. I got it. But a professor in seminary unpacked this concept for me. You see, I’m a coheir with Christ. Not only do I partake in the benefits of his suffering and death for forgiveness, but I am viewed as God views Christ in every sense. For example, if my parents died, my brother, sister and I are documented as coheirs. This means that everything they own would go to all three of us equally. No one person lays claim to any one thing. We all own it all. Transfer that concept to this text. We are coheirs with Christ. Everything He has, we have. Everything He is, we now are.
In the book Search for Significance Robert S. McGee raises the question, “If God was sitting between you and Jesus and was asked, “Who do you love more?” What would he say?” Clearly, he would say Jesus, right? Nope. He’d say, I love them the same. Does that blow your mind?!
We are viewed like Christ. It’s not just the concept that God doesn’t love us any less for our sinful disobedience, though this is an amazing concept, but God can’t love us any more than He does. He already loves us perfectly as He loves Christ. You know what this concept does for the super achieving good girl? I can just be! I can meditate on His command to “be still and know that I am God.” I can revel in His love and rest in His grace. I don’t have to work anymore! Are you working too hard? Are you trying to gain God’s approval, notice, or satisfaction? Stop. If you have a relationship with God through Christ’s sacrifice for you, accept your position as His daughter and coheir with Christ. Walk alongside Christ.
Now, I still struggle with using personal achievement as a means to happiness. My pride rears its ugly head, and I start trying to work again for God’s approval or for nods of approval from my friends and family to validate who I am and cause me to feel good about myself. It’s so hard to simply rest in God’s promises at times, isn’t it? This is especially difficult when the world is constantly screaming an alternative message. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” When I am tempted to accept the smooth talk of the world that I must do something to gain love, I must wield this verse. I must mediate and pray over the truth from God’s Word!
The world tells you that what matters is what you look like, who you associate with, what your job is, and how much money you have. God says you matter because I created you and I love you. I made you out of the dirt and breathed into you. Have you ever taken a moment to think about this amazing moment? God speaks into existence stars, planets, vegetation of every kind, all the animals, and then He starts playing in the dirt, getting His hands all messy. He bends down and shapes the clay, and then, He gets His face close. He’s so close that He’s just hovering over it and He breathes life into it. Could God have spoken man into existence? Of course, He’s God! But He takes time and care to personally craft and shape man. Why? This creation is special. You see, it’s made in His image. You are that precious to God.
What can separate us from this incredible love of God? Believe me; God wants to make it abundantly clear. Nothing can take the love of God from us. You are loved perfectly, and it can’t get any deeper or greater. You are precious—accepted as a Son and breathed into by God. The Creator died to make you a co-heir with Christ. Let go of the numbering system and latch onto your identity as your Daddy’s girl. He will not let go of His own.
by Angel Angell with Shabby Chic Ministries