But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5
The Apostle Paul writes a letter to Jesus-followers in Ephesus to help them remember who they are. He deeply desires they understand how God sees them because of what Jesus has done for them. He’s reminding them how they came to be part of God’s family. It’s not about what they have done, but what God has done for them through Jesus and their faith and trust in Christ’s death on the cross. Paul knows the more deeply they understand the Gospel—the good news of what Jesus has already done—the more the Gospel will transform them into the people God created them to be.
The same is true for us. When we truly understand how God views us because of our faith in what Jesus has done for us, we can stop trying to measure up to be good enough for him. Our position in Jesus Christ is secure. God sees us through the lens of Jesus—completely forgiven, loved and accepted (known as justification). We don’t have to climb a ladder to be good enough, pray better or serve more to gain God’s approval. We already have his love and acceptance because of Jesus.
As we grow in understanding what Jesus has done for us, every aspect of our lives will change over time. We can live out of this deep reservoir of the truth of the Gospel. We will continue growing to live out this truth for the rest of our lives (known as sanctification). We pray not because we “should” but because we can boldly approach God’s throne. We reach out to help others not out of duty but out of delight for the countless ways God has helped us. We love our tough-to-love family and friends not out of obligation but out of the reality of how much God loves us.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Spend time considering how you view yourself in contrast with how God sees you—already loved, forgiven and accepted. Journal what comes to mind. Then pray and ask God to help you view yourself as he does. “God, sometimes I struggle to see myself the way you do. I often see all the ways I don’t measure up. Help me see myself as you do through Jesus. Amen.”
2023 SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.
February is SABBATH. Keep track of our spiritual practices at beyondtheweekend.org/spiritualpractices.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE TIP Prayerfully consider the things that fill you back up. Maybe it’s time in nature, reading a good book or coffee with a friend. Make a list of things that come to mind and try one of those things on your next Sabbath.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.