“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Luke 23: 43, NKJ
Many of us find it difficult to allow God to accept us as we are. We believe that we are not good enough to come into His presence and do our very best to make ourselves better. This is often because we have received conditional love from our parents – “If you are a good boy/girl we will give you a special treat”, or words to that effect, or through our lives have discovered that in order to gain rewards we have to strive to be the best. We feel ashamed of our behaviour, our constant struggles with sin and our failure to live up to the high standards we set ourselves, or that we believe God sets for us.
What we fail to understand and believe deep in our hearts is that God`s love for us is unconditional. He loves us no matter who we are or what we have done, and nothing we do will make Him love us any more or less than He does already. We may have grieved Him, but it will not alter the fact that He loves us. He cannot change because that is His nature. Yes, He is a holy God and He hates sin, but He loves the sinner.
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, one of the thieves hanging beside Him recognised Him as the sinless Son of God and asked Jesus to remember him when He went to glory. (Luke 23: 43). Jesus` reply was “Today you will be with Me in Paradise”, not “You haven`t been good enough so you can`t come in.” No matter what that man had done during his life time, the fact that he recognised Jesus for Who He was, was enough. That thief became the first person to be saved through the shed blood of the Saviour!
In the parable that Jesus tells about the labourers in the vineyard who come at different times of the day to work (Matthew 20: 1 – 26), those who began work at the last possible moment received the same payment as those who began early in the day. God is not so worried about what we do for Him as He is about the relationship we have with Him. He loves us with unchangeable and unchanging love and simply longs for us to come to Him exactly as we are – then He can begin making the changes in our lives without our striving to do so ourselves.
Prayer: Dearest Father, Thank You for Your wonderful unchanging love, love which accepts me exactly as I am, not as I want to be. You know how you want me to be. Please help me to allow You to work in me so that I become the person You originally planned. In Jesus` name, I ask it, Amen.
Today's Writer : Angela Weir Angela Weir has been associated with Ellel Ministries from the very beginning, first as an associate member of the ministry team and later as an associate teacher. She trained as an actress and after her marriage and move to Cumbria, taught drama in a girls’ school.