Suffice it to say, I’ve had more than my share of confidence-shaking events in my life. I have become a master of the stiff upper lip, the poster child for big girl panties, and the queen of bootstraps. Well, I’d like to think that, but I’m pretty sure I just come off like a stunned tornado survivor on the 6 o’clock news with wild hair and crazy eyes, that’s been turned into a meme that everyone thinks is hilarious. I’d love to tell you I believe Jesus loves me as I am, but there are definitely moments where I think, “who could love this?” I’m pretty sure Jesus and me will kick my spiritual life into well-oiled high gear just as soon as I get my act together and at least brush my crazy hair. Jesus is just drumming his fingers, waiting for me to have my ducks in a row so he can show me my purpose and the 10 steps for Making It All Happen!
It’s just that I keep dropping the ball. Why can’t I hang onto the ball?
Thank God I am covered in a robe of righteousness. Or covered in Jesus’ blood... hidden in Christ, whatever. Because no one can handle the reject underneath it.
Is that true? God created such a crapshow he needed to throw something over it to make it acceptable? It is not a leap to assume that we need some special covering to be acceptable to God. We believe Jesus came to throw a robe, or covering of blood, or other spiritual obscurity over us for us to be acceptable in God’s sight. We are truly so wretched that, only by divine smoke and mirrors, can we be made palatable to a perfect God. If we are really honest, we believe we can lose our grip on this robe, and thus lose our protected status, so we strive to keep hold of the delicate veil that, at any moment, could fall away... and we could fall from grace. Oh, how disappointed our Father will be in us when he beholds us naked and exposed for what we really are!
As I struggle to understand how my Father can be as pleased with me as the Bible says He is, I was struck with some imagery while singing worship songs at church. I saw God reach into his heart and pull a part of it out. He called it “son,” and put it in the body of a woman (because he loves women!). His son grew up vulnerable and exposed to every human condition;
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:5-7).
He joined us in all our sorrows, and never once did anything supernatural to alleviate his human suffering. He took everything that separated us from perfection and killed it on the cross. Then, when his work was done, and we were reconciled, his Father scooped his son back into his breast, together with all of us, the now-adopted sons and daughters.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Gal. 4:4-6)
As sons and daughters, we are beloved and esteemed, destined to fulfill the purposes of God with unique giftings and talents. At no time is it necessary to hide our identity from the Lord and regard it as despised. In fact, to do so is prideful; it’s the assumption that Christ’s death did not purchase our freedom and legitimacy. Now, joined with Christ in the beating heart of our Father, we are grafted to him, not merely shaded, robed, or hidden by him.
And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again (Rom.11:23).
To be grafted, a shoot from one vine or tree is cut off, and an incision made in an established plant. The grafted section is inserted, bound to, and eventually grows completely unified with, the original organism.
I do not need to return to the font for a sprinkling of blood every time I cannot reconcile my actions with the truth of my status. I am in the living God’s very own heart, grafted into him so that his sustaining life’s blood flows through and over me; I am one with him in the spirit. (I Cor. 6:17 -But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in the Spirit.) Talk about covered with the blood! This nourishing blood delivers to me living water, the creative breath of God, and the nourishment of Christ’s body for my healing. When I am tempted to look at the natural circumstances before me, and forget the interconnectivity I have with a supernatural God, I can be like Neo from the Matrix and say, “there is no spoon.” I can look at that hot mess in the mirror, and know I am acceptable and esteemed, to do the good work of my Father who calls me out of darkness.