‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
In my early years as a pastor I made a point to be holy, at least externally. I wanted to be a strong christian example. I didn’t cuss, I wore What Would Jesus Do bracelets, demanded external perfection of my students, and set up impossibly high rules for others. I was making moralists– hyper religious people who make Christianity all about how good they can behave. I was not, unfortunately, leading people to recognize their deep need for a savior. In my studies I came across a quote that I loved at the time but have now found to be contrary to the gospel. The long dead Robert M’Cheyne (who I generally LOVE) said, “The greatest gift I can give my church is my personal holiness.” Perhaps it’s just me, but my personal holiness apart from Christ is a shipwreck. The greatest gift I can give to you is that Jesus has done for broke down disasters like me what I could never do for myself. The greatest gift I can give you today is the good news that God relentlessly loves the weak and the bad. (fyi: weak and bad people are the only kind of people who actually exist.)
I pray you find hope today in knowing that Jesus loves and empowers those are weak, bad, and broken. Take comfort in knowing that your strength and holiness, or lack thereof, is not a determining factor in God’s love for you. His one way love crashes into your life not because of how good you are but because of how good HE is! Boast in your weakness, it is in that place you’ll find his grace is sufficient for you. Finally, you’ll be free from the pressures of pretend holiness. Finally, you’ll be perfectly holy because Jesus covers you. And finally, you’ll be able to take off your mask and let him meet you in the mess.
p.s. w.w.j.d. bracelets make Christians weird. You know what Jesus did? Jesus lived the perfect life you could never live, died the death you deserved to die, and rose from the dead after absorbing the wrath of God against sin. You and I can’t do that. It’s not in our job description. #stoptheweirdness