Luke 15:7 In the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over 99 others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away.
This scripture hit me a certain way when I read it this morning and brought great hope and comfort to me. Even though I know that the Bible says God is not mad at me and forgives me when I ask for forgiveness I still find myself with the vague feeling that he has to be disappointed with me. Because of old habits or behaviors that tend to creep back in me I often find myself ashamed of my actions. That shame causes guilt and condemnation. Then I start the wrong thoughts of God has to be upset and disappointed that I keep causing these issues for myself. Things that he has delivered me from will become a problem once more and the struggle gets harder each time. It seems that the more that I get upset with myself, the more that I feel God has to be feeling the same way.
The human aspect of us (our sinful nature) is very weak. It desires to feel good in the moment and does not think past the moment. It doesn’t care about the consequences or the negative affect that our actions may have. It wants the opposite of what the spirit wants and craves to have it’s way so that we are never free to do what our spirit desires (Romans 8:7). It is a war in our mind that we can learn to choose which one will have it’s way (Romans 8:5-7).
I think that it is a natural response for us to wonder if God is upset with us when we have set backs, fall backs, or stray away from the righteous path. Because we have experienced the disapproval from others when we mess up we can forget that God is merciful and full of unfailing love. We can forget that he is nothing like us humans. We can lose sight of the fact that he already knew that we were going to do what we’ve done and still accepted us. He understands us better than we understand ourselves, sees past what we do, and looks at our heart. He knows our weaknesses, our struggles, and still believes in us.
In the 7th and 8th chapters of Romans I have been greatly encouraged and reminded of the truth of the sinful nature, God, the Spirit, and how Jesus forgives and covers our wrongness and makes us right with God. To know that Paul faced the same struggles with the sinful nature helps me to not feel so alone in the battle.. To be reminded that God is now our friend because Jesus has restored our relationship with Him and that there is nothing that can sperate us from His love for us brings peace to my heart. And I have been empowered by the truth of the fact that I have no obligation to do what the sinful nature wants because my spirit is now alive and the sinful nature has been put to death by Christ hanging on the cross.
Romans chapter 8 starts with there being no more condemnation because Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins. We no longer have to beat ourselves up over our mishaps, our stubbornness, our weaknesses, our rebellion, our failures. And Luke 15:7 says that even if we stray away, but come back, that heaven (and God) rejoices more than for someone who is righteous and has never strayed away. Clearly there is no reason that we should feel that God is mad at us or disapproves of us. There is no reason to think that he has turned his back on us. There is nothing that would make him not be there looking and waiting for us to come back when we have fell of course and gotten lost.
All these truths give me hope and faith that my God does love me threw thick and thin and He will never give up on me or turn his back on me. And the same thing goes for each and everyone of you.. Never be too ashamed tho go to God for your fall backs. Never be too scared that He won’t be there to reach for him. And never think that He doesn’t understand why you’ve done what you’ve done. He loves you unconditionally forever and ever, no matter how bad you’ve been.