But the Spirit makes us right with God

Romans 8:10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.

Romans 2:16, 29 The day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life. … [He looks for] one whose heart is right with God … not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

I went through a phase as a child when I secretly “accepted Jesus” again every time I heard this invitation in church. Terrified of God’s anger, I tried desperately to be good. But I knew I wasn’t.

Somehow, I missed the teaching of Scripture about being God’s beloved child. When as an adult I found myself confronted by Ephesians 5:1-2, “Imitate God in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love…,” I told a trusted friend this might apply to other people, but not to me. It seemed to me self-evident, something I profoundly knew, that I could never please God. I had no concept of God as my loving Father, or of what it felt like to be a beloved child.

Shutterstock: Halfpoint

So, accepting Paul’s statement, The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you—one of the most amazing, hope-filled affirmations ever penned—has been a process.

Stop for a second and think about this for yourself. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. What does this mean to you? What words come to mind? How does this feel?

Asking myself these questions, I responded, “The Spirit has power, the power of life over death, the power to fill my heart with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). I can’t generate these qualities in myself, true. But he can! How does that feel? It feels like hope, and relief, and freedom.”

My spiritual director often says to me, “God is easy to please. Actually, he delights in you. And he knows you; he knows what he has to work with. Don’t try harder. Instead, relax into his love and power.”

Is this a message you need to hear today?

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