It’s not like you’ve imagined. Probably unlike anything you’ve been told, taught, or experienced. Being with Jesus isn’t a prescribed program or a series of have-to’s. It’s not a checklist of holy duties or a list of rules to follow. It’s not polishing yourself shiny or hoping you’ve been good enough.
It’s so easy that some find it hard.
Jesus extends his arms, pulls us in, and wraps us in HIS holiness, offering us forgiveness, rest, peace, joy, love—all the things we’ve been striving for but couldn’t manage on our own. His is a put-your-feet-up, cease-striving sort of love that beckons us to just BE. Be ourselves in his company. Be still. Be undone. Be made new.
It’s an I know who-you-are and where-you’ve-been acceptance. An I’ve-seen-it-all and know-you-entirely embrace. It’s full knowledge of all our failings and shortcomings without turning away love.
In the middle of our dark, our confusion and lost way, Jesus enters and strikes a match. The light and warmth flicker hope.
The Truth-teller—Jesus—explains everything you ever did (John 4:39), no hint of condemnation, only an ever-extended love offer amid the sin and spoil of our lives. It’s the clean-up effort we could never accomplish. A humanly impossible transformation. An eternity enabler.
Maybe that’s why His love is hard to receive. It’s so extravagant, so unlike anything we’ve ever imagined or experienced, we think we need to help. We think we need to earn it, achieve it, enable it. We think we need to work to deserve this reckless love and arms-flung-wide forgiveness.
But the work was done. On the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) We need only to receive this love like no other.
As we enter the New Year, the offer awaits. The babe of the Christmas nativity came for us, died for us, made a way for us. No matter what the year ahead holds—both the breathtaking and the breaking—Christ’s arms remain extended.
May your new year truly be a new year—a fresh start filled with His love, His hope, his peace.
In need of some inspiration to start off your year? Try my 31-day devotional journal Soul Focus – Trials – Daily Encouragements For Overcoming Life’s Struggles.