JESUS COMES FIRST
(Why we must receive before we release.)
How many times when you are struggling, do you try to fix it yourself? I know I find myself trying to do better, to power through on my own strength and determination. In those moments we see our mistakes and failures and after beating ourselves up mentally we decide to change our ways and work harder to improve. All of our efforts and struggles could be handled differently, instead of doing things My way, I could do it God’s way which works much better and has longer lasting effects.
Often, we are convinced that we need to do something first for God to come in and help us. For example, when I am tired or hungry or both, I can speak harshly to my husband or my daughter, then when I recognize it, I decide I need to stop doing that and be better. But what if instead I came to God humbly and asked Him to fill me with His grace. I can receive His great love for me and release my condemnation. Then from that place of being loved and forgiven, I can go to them and confess and repent and move to repair the relationship.
Operating out of the love of God instead of out of condemnation or even justification changes everything. I can stand rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, who paid for all my sins, past, present, and future. Receiving God’s love for me empowers me to truly love them also, and to recognize the hurt my words caused. Then I am filled with the Holy Spirit and have wisdom and direction to know how best to restore our relationship.
Jesus loved us while we were sinners. God isn’t waiting for us to get everything right in order to save us. He wants us to come broken and receive His great love for us. It is His work, not ours, that saves and heals us. Once we receive His love it displaces everything else, our own efforts to save ourselves, our fears and worries, and our need to be in control. We are transformed when we let Jesus come in. He places His love in our lives, and He shows us His ways. This is where we find rest.
Then Jesus said,
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you.
Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give to you is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
“Trying” in our own strength is exhausting and defeating. God’s indwelling is life-giving and produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we let Jesus come in first, we receive His love and we can release our brokenness. That is how we live the more than abundant life. Here is a prayer that I have found helpful in reminding me to open up and receive from God first and then I can release my things.
Lord Jesus, I am Yours.
I receive Your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive Your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive Your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive Your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive Your joy and release my despair.
I receive Your healing and release my sickness.
I receive Your love and release my selfishness.
Come Holy Spirit transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that I
abide in love and move as You direct.
We ask in Jesus name.