God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
We love to take credit for stuff. It feels good to get noticed for doing something good or for being an example - especially when we’re caught off guard by it by a teacher. When we’ve dutifully taken to a task and hear the teacher point it out to the whole class, we get a little nervous warm feeling and then become instantly aware of being monitored and continue on trying to do a good job when we just were before without any thought of it.
The thing that sets God apart from all other possible observers to my behavior is that he has access to my inside, my invisible parts, my thoughts, my heart. We are completely cognizant of the fact that our salvation is a gift from God. We accept it; we don’t earn it. But beyond that do we try and do extra stuff to get him to love us more, accept us more, save us more? Why? The loving, the saving, the accepting is already done!
Last night we were having Bible Study with our kids and the lesson was about just being real with Jesus. He doesn’t need fancy Christian-ese prayers or big lofty titles from us. He’s our friend (John 15:15)! You don’t have to put on big fancy airs for your friends. And he taught us to pray to God calling him, “Abba.” That means “Papa.” “Daddy.” We have not entered into a distant, clinical, antibacterial relationship with our Savior and God. It is personal. It is messy, funny, interactive, and real. And since he sees my heart, I should not fall into the trap of trying to impress him. He already loves all of me as is.
Matthew 6:5-8 gives us Jesus’ advice on how to interact with our very personal “Papa...”
When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
God saved me by his grace. And everything he’s done for me since has been by his grace. I can’t take credit for that, and I’m not gonna try. God didn’t give me a wonderful husband because I’m so great. He didn’t bless me with healthy children and a beautiful home because I performed a series of noticeable tasks. I have no idea why he’s done these things. He’s just full of grace towards me. That’s the only explanation. I can’t take credit for it. I’m just being me; HE is the one who is amazing!
Thank you for your truly amazing grace. I didn’t follow any special formula for you to care and love for me so lavishly, you just DO. Thank you so much for your many blessing to me. You are so full of grace and mercy, help and comfort, joy and wisdom. I love you so much and I pray in your Son’s name. Amen.