This week we’re continuing the series “What the Cross Means for You and Me,” Letter #2 of The Nature of Freedom, adapted from Brilliant TV.
This article, as with the last handful of our articles, is based around Graham’s landmark book, “The Nature of Freedom.”
Remember in this series of articles that the Letters from God books (“The Nature of Freedom” / “The Newness Advantage“) are written as if God were sending a personal letter to you, because everything about life in Christ is relational to Him.
Today, let’s continue on in Letter #2 and read a part of the section “Futility or Fullness:”
“We successfully proved that man trying to keep the rules of behavior (the law) could never work outside of sacrifice.
You cannot please Me by trying to please Me!
On the Cross I crucified your old nature with Christ. It is dead and buried and therefore no longer a core part of who you are.
It is now Christ that lives in you and We are teaching you how to be one with Him; how to see, think, speak and act in line with the real, true you that is born again in Christ.
Your spirit lives in Him and He in you. In His sacrifice I abolished forever the law of rules and trying harder, and the shame and condemnation that I so despise.”
— “The Nature of Freedom,” from Letter #2
The key thought here for today is: “You can’t please Me by trying to please Me!”
When Jesus died, you died. As we’ve said, Jesus didn’t just die for you, He died AS you.
When He was resurrected into new life, you were raised with Him, and He didn’t leave a corpse behind.
There was no old, dead Jesus AND a new living one. There was only one – the resurrected Jesus.
And to God, there’s only one of you also: the new, true you in Christ.
That’s the person that God is in loving relationship with.
And everything we do is meant to be our response to His love.
Performance is a reasonable expectation in life. It’s not necessarily bad, in and of itself.
If I go to a Manchester United game, I expect them to perform. If I go to a concert, I expect the singer to have practiced and to sing well.
It’s the reason we perform that is key.
As new creations in Christ, we’re not performing to get a relationship with God; to win His approval and affirmation.
Our performance is our relational response to who He is and His abundant life.
God comes to us with His gifts of righteousness, salvation, eternal and abundant life; peace, love, joy; they are all gifts. You don’t earn them. You receive them.
Our response (or “performance”) is our gift to Him: heart-felt, natural responses of worship, rejoicing, holiness, thanksgiving.
We are righteous, generous and faithful because of who He has been for us.
The book of Colossians says:
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
— Colossians 2:13-14
All the accusations against you, including the ones you have against yourself, were taken away at the cross.
So it’s futile to try to atone for them by performance behaviors to prove your worthiness to God; to try to please Him by trying to please Him!
Beloved, the invitation here is to see it the way God sees it. The gift is Christ in you. So what will be your response to that?
What would He say about you? About your circumstances? About the people in your life?
What gift of Himself does He have for each of these? And what is your response to that gift?
Those are good questions to consider as you move through the next days and weeks and months.
Allow His peace to rise in your heart and overwhelm any sense of trying harder to do better for Him.
Hear the affection in His voice as He says, “You cannot please Me by trying to please Me.”
Hear the smile of it:
“Beloved, you can not please Me by trying to please Me. I know you’re not always where you want to be, but you are so not where you used to be.
Take a deep breath. Relax. Be at peace. Let go of trying to please, because My reality is that You are My beloved, in whom I’m well pleased.
That’s my gift to you today and all the days ahead: My affirmation of who you are and how delighted I am with you, right here… right now.
I plan to enjoy your responses to My gifts because, that’s how good Dads are. They give good gifts simply because they love giving.”
So, think about the gift of Christ in you in the next few days, and your responses.
Thanks so much for going on this journey with us 🙂
There’s a lot more to this series, “What the Cross Means for You and Me“ which you can find on here on Brilliant TV.
Also, you can find the book that this series was based on in our Store: “The Nature of Freedom.”