At some time or other, everybody feels dirty and spiritually icky. None of us feel like we deserve the Lord’s love. And if we’re walking by sight and not by faith, going by how we’re feeling instead of trusting God’s Word, of course we’re going to wonder how the Lord could possibly love us or want us.
It’s just a fact that we’re all dirty and sinful. But when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin. He’s perfect, and He can’t accept sin, but when He looks at us He sees Jesus. “Our lives are hid with Christ in God. We’re crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live; yet not us, but Christ liveth within us.”1 Jesus is our mediator. Jesus is the one who gets us through to God. We’re too imperfect, too bad, too sinful—that’s for sure—but we’re not too sinful for Jesus!
Jesus paid the price and took all our dirtiness and our imperfections and our sins on Himself. We are all too dirty for God. It doesn’t make any difference to our salvation whether we’re more or less sinful than someone else. As long as we have been saved by Jesus’ blood, He’s forgiven us—for past, present, and future sins—and He sees only Jesus’ righteousness.
The degree of our sinfulness doesn’t really matter to the Lord; all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and if salvation and God’s blessings were dependent on our own righteousness, we’d all fall short.2 But thanks to Jesus, we don’t have to worry about it or feel that it keeps us from God. It doesn’t, because Jesus has paid the price for our sins, and we are no longer separated from the Lord because of them. He says that even our righteousness is as “filthy rags.”3 Jesus is the only one who is good and clean and perfect, and we’re bound together with Him and we’re one with Him, so God only sees Jesus, and it doesn’t matter how sinful we are as compared to others. We’re all His children and He loves us all.
Once the Lord has made our hearts clean and Jesus lives within us, it doesn’t matter how awful we have been or how dark our sins are. The Lord accepts us the way we are. Sometimes we’re tempted to feel that we have to try to be good enough for Him or earn His love or try to be a martyr to prove how much we love Him, which only leads to condemnation, because our works are inadequate.
If you’re worried about being close to Jesus, do you know what kind of person He says He’s really close to? God’s Word says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.”4 So the more desperate you get, the more broken you get, the closer He becomes to you.
Often when we’re in the most broken condition and in our most desperate situation, we feel His presence more too. We feel the Lord then because we’re hanging on to Him for dear life.
When we’re only looking to Him, we can then see Him a little better and even feel Him a little better. When you’re in that state and you know you’ve made a mess of things and you’re sorry, that’s when the Lord is nearest to you. In other words, when you are bad and filthy and feel as if you’re covered with mud, that’s when He’s closest to you—not farthest away. Even if you don’t feel it, you know it by faith because He said it, and if you know by faith that He’s close to you when you’re bad and broken and sorry, then you know that it doesn’t come as a result of your somehow earning it.
You know He loves you in spite of how sinful you are. He has compassion and mercy on you. He loved us so much and died for us because we are sinners,5 and the weaker we are and the more we need Him, the closer He comes to us and tries to help us. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.”6
You might wonder, “Why would He ever want to be close to me?” I don’t know why He’d want to be close to any of us. But He does, and He’s said so over and over in His Word. You just have to believe His Word. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”7
Why would the Lord want any of us? We’re all in the same sinful category. We’re all in the same boat as far as the Lord is concerned. But the Lord knows that and He still loves us and wants to be close to us because Jesus came to save us, and that’s God’s plan. He loves us. We don’t have to know exactly why. I admit it’s difficult to understand why He would want any of us. But He does, and that’s what He says in His Word and that’s what we have to believe. We don’t have to find out all the reasons behind things and analyze why things are the way they are.
You don’t have to worry about why you haven’t had faith in the past; the past is over and done with. The important thing is to start doing what you’re supposed to be doing right now. Why worry about the past? It’s over and done with. There’s no reason to cry over spilled milk and there’s no reason to condemn yourself. The Lord doesn’t condemn you. He just wants you to turn around and do better now.
He wants you to believe that He loves you, and He wants you to read His Word and believe it and receive it and let it transform you. That in itself shows how much He cares about you and loves you. That shows how special you are to the Lord.
For more writings by Maria Fontaine, visit Directors Corner.