No Merit Needed

Read: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 (NLT)

“Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. Thank the God of all gods, his love never quits. Thank the Lord of all lords.  His love never quits.” Psalm 136:1-3 (MSG)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39 (NIV)

Reflect: As a society we like the idea of merit because it is specific, it is tangible – it motivates us. In our jobs we know what our duties and goals are and we strive to reach them to obtain recognition and promotion.  Recently, California colleges sent out notices of acceptance and rejection to students. Thousands of students, including my daughter, were disappointed because they thought their merit of achieving the requisite GPA and SAT scores would result in an admission to their desired school.

Unlike college admissions, God’s love is not a mystery. Jesus’ love is not based on our merit; it is based on his mercy. Thank God! Can you imagine having to cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s to obtain Jesus’ love? Sometimes I find myself thinking I have to do exactly that. It is exhausting.  I beat myself up about missing a devotion time, not attending a service or not reaching out to a person God has placed on my heart. I place unnecessary pressure on myself, thinking I am disappointing God – when he’s not disappointed. He still loves me, regardless of my performance.

God intentionally did not make this complicated for us. He put the burden on his son and had him die for us because we are simply incapable of meeting God’s glorious standard. His love and mercy is a gift, plain and simple.  We are invited to embrace his wonderful gift and grab a seat at his table.

React: Are you trying to earn God’s love instead of embracing it?

Pray: Thank you for your unconditional love, God. Thank you for only requiring us to believe in you and your Son.  Help us to accept your gift of love and mercy, without self-imposed conditions.  Help us to give that love and mercy to others.