Gold Medal

I am a nanny of two beautiful, funny and smart little girls. Today was absolutely beautiful outside, so of course that means park day for me Gigi and Nat. One of our favorite things to do is walk around the park on the "balance beam" racing against the non existent clock. Every time Gigi or Nat make it all the way around I immediately begin cheering saying "You're number 1! Gold medal! Here's your medal *hands imaginary medal* Yay!" Sometimes they smile, sometimes they bow, sometimes they laugh and say "Again!" but today Gigi ran over to me and pointed to my necklace saying "That's your gold medal." I couldn't help but smile. My necklace is a a brass medallion with Africa stamped on it. Africa is my gold medal.

And then I thought a little deeper.

I will never be deserving of a gold medal from God. I can never do anything deserving of God and His unconditional love and sacrifice of His one and only son. Gods love is patient and kind. He love does not envy or boast nor is it arrogant or rude. Gods love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or restful; His love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Gods love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing. Gods love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) God's love is deep and vast, never changing, a constant flow. We are so undeserving of this love.

I feel that whenever I am in a group of Christians I always hear "God loves us no matter what. Despite all our sin, He loves us." While this is true (Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.) I can't help but cringe when I hear this said in a large group of people. Why? Because I feel when people hear this they pretend this is their "free ticket". They are taking advantage of God's love and forgiveness and forget that this is not an excuse for us to continue in our sin, but rather this should be our wake up call.

When we hear of this love that God has to offer, love that is unlike anything another human, animal or thing can offer, we should immediately fall to our knees and ask What can I do for Him? I want to do anything and everything that He asks of me. Not because I want glory, not because I will ever be deserving (Titus 3:5 He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.) but because I want to obey and honor Him in all that I do. Because I love Him and want to follow Him.

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to you former ways of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

*If you are truly a follower of Christ, and not just an admirer or fan, you should be obeying all of his commands.

Deutornomy 11:1 Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.

Exodus 19:5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine.

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.

John 14:23-24 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

*He will give you the strength you need to obey!

We are all sinners and God loves us despite our sin. When we come before Him we are to repent and turn from our sin. Love the Lord! Follow and obey His commands! The only way to truly appreciate and feel the full extent of Gods love is by living, following, and obeying Christ's commands. Not just the ones you like but all of them. It is not easy but through Christ all things are possible. (Mark 9:23)

I will never deserve a gold medal from God but He has already given me the ultimate prize. Forgiveness and a relationship with Him because He loves me. I am His (Isaiah 43:1) and He is mine.

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and big and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpass knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

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