The freedom we have in Jesus is one of my favorite topics. But, if you read Jesus’
own words, you’ll often find him qualifying his promises with phrases like, “If you obey my
commands…” or “If you follow me…” These phrases sound conditional; they sound like I get
blessed if I’m good, but I might get kicked out if I’m bad or something. What’s up with that?
When Jesus uses these phrases, it helps me to understand them the way I understand
marriage vows. At my wedding 26 years ago, I made grand vows to Debbie to cherish her, to
serve her, to prefer her above myself. Even at the altar, though, Debbie knew I wouldn’t
perfectly live up to those vows. She knew I would have moments of selfishness and there
would be times my words and actions weren’t the least bit “cherishing.” BUT, she also was
convinced that when I came to realize I wasn’t living up to my vows, that I would apologize
and ask her forgiveness. At our wedding, Debbie was trusting my heart commitment, not
keeping a scorecard on my performance.
Jesus does the same thing. He knows we won’t follow his direction perfectly, but he’s not
keeping a scorecard (Psalm 103:11-12). Instead, he’s looking at our heart commitment. In
reality, Jesus’ definition of “perfection” for us is a two-part plan: Plan A is obedience and Plan B
is repentance. He wants us to experience the blessing that comes with obeying his commands,
but by his grace, our missteps don’t disqualify us and he gives us repentance as a path back
into fellowship with him.
So, throw away the scorecard and enjoy the freedom Jesus has for you. Set your heart
on following him and when you stumble, run to repentance. His arms are wide open.
On the Adventure with you,