Categories
grace

It’s OK to Give Yourself a Little Grace

You’re doing better than you think…

The criticism we heap on ourselves is often worse than any criticism we receive from others. We want to be the perfect husband or wife, the perfect parent, the perfect person. We long for the unattainable goal of perfection.

But we find ourselves making mistakes. We use bad judgement. We fail. And, sooner or later, we must face the truth: We aren’t perfect.

When someone else makes a mistake or fails, we are inclined to offer grace, understanding, and encouragement. But when we’re the ones who messed up, we can be very hard on ourselves. Instead of beating ourselves up, maybe we need to give ourselves a little grace.

It’s OK to analyze our mistakes. We can almost always learn something from a mistake or a failure. But it’s not OK to be so hard on ourselves that we doubt our worth, our purpose, or God’s love for us.

Romans 8:1 says, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” We are free from guilt. We are forgiven. No punishment awaits us. We have been set free—free from shame, free from guilt, and free from the tyranny of our own thoughts.

God’s love for us is unconditional. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us. He loves us so much that he calls us his children—his sons and daughters. We are heirs of God’s glory. God isn’t disappointed in us when we mess up. In fact, he isn’t even surprised. His grace, mercy, and love are abundant, and they don’t disappear in the midst of our mistakes.

In God’s hands, our mistakes and failures do not equal defeat. They are just another step on our journey. “The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him. If they stumble badly, they will still survive, for the Lord lifts them up with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24). We may fall down, but we won’t stay down. We may stumble badly, but God himself will lift us up with his strong hand.

Friend, you’re not perfect, but you’re perfectly loved. Your mistakes and failures don’t define you. You have permission to give yourself a little grace. You’re doing better than you think. Let go of those things that are behind. The past is past. Instead, reach for your future, confident of God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness.

Dear God, I’m amazed at your great love and forgiveness. Thank you for forgiving my sins, mistakes, and failures. Help me forgive myself. Give me wisdom to learn from my past and then to let it go. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Categories
identity

But God Says You Are Wise

“I’m so stupid.” “I can’t do anything right.”

Have you ever heard those words whirl in your mind or come out of your mouth? If you are a child of God, those words are untrue.

James 1:5 says, “And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures, but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.”

This is a remarkable promise. The conditions are few and simple: We must want to be wise and we must ask God for wisdom. That’s it. How many things in life are that easy? How many things can be received merely by wanting and asking? We can want and ask for a million dollars, but it won’t get us very far. Wisdom is worth far more to us than a million dollars, and it’s ours just for the asking. Wow!

The rest of this verse explains how God looks at what we think of as our foolish, stupid failures. We may imagine God is terribly disappointed in our lack of wisdom or angry about our failures. Nothing could be further from the truth. When we come to God with our failures and our need for his wisdom, he doesn’t see an opportunity to scold us and make us feel bad. He’s such a good God that he overwhelms our failures with grace.

It’s dangerous to listen to the voices in our head that call us stupid and foolish when we can listen to the voice of God that tells us we are wise.

 It’s also dangerous to think we know it all and don’t need any wisdom from God. Our wisdom will always come up short. The wisdom we receive from God will always bring good results.

James 3:13-18 gives us a picture of the differences between worldly, human “wisdom,” and spiritual wisdom from God. Worldly wisdom results in jealousy, boasting, phoniness, selfishness, and is actually called, “devilish.” Some versions of the Bible call it, “earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.”

In stark contrast, wisdom from above is, “pure, peaceful, considerate, and teachable.” It never displays prejudice or hypocrisy. Godly wisdom produces a fruitful and righteous harvest.

We are not who our parents, our friends, or our own opinion tells us we are. We are who God says we are. And God says we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We aren’t foolish. We aren’t stupid. We are filled with wisdom from a never-ending source. All we have to do is ask.

Dear God, I want spiritual wisdom. My human wisdom is lame and limited. Your wisdom is from above and brings blessings and fruitfulness. I ask for your wisdom today, and I receive it in the name of Jesus. Amen.