Last week I wrote about how my daughter was afraid to go to school, because a girl had been mean to her. But that story was actually about half of what had happened. When I was getting her ready for school, with only ten minutes to spare before leaving for the bus she asked me to spray her hair with pink hairspray (which we didn’t have). I said no we didn’t have time or pink hairspray and she asked me for a purple spray instead, which we did have. When I told her we didn’t have time, she started crying. The rest of this story brought me back to truth of how we know we don’t have to earn God’s love.
So back to the story…
I couldn’t figure out why it mattered so much for her to have her hair sprayed that specific day, but it closely tied into the girl who pushed her on the ground and laughed at her.
Later that night she asked again for me to spray her hair, and I said I would in the morning so she didn’t get her pillow covered in dye. And she said “Oh good, ‘said girl who pushed her and laughed’ will think it’s so cool.”
I realized quickly that her wanting to spay her hair a cool color had nothing to do with her actually wanting her hair pink or purple. It had to do with her trying to win the friendship of this girl. She wanted this mean girl to like her.
This absolutely broke my heart. She is 6. And as a recovering people pleaser, it pained me that my daughter was learning the same thing at a really young age. Act a certain way and people will like you. Look a certain way, and win someone’s kindness and favor.
I had to break the bad news to her that I wasn’t going to spray her hair, because if she felt she needed to look a certain way for someone to like her and to be her friend, this wasn’t a true friend.
Do we have to earn God’s love?
Is this a reflection of how you view your relationship with God? That you have to get Him to like you? Or that you have to gain His love?
I have been there, and have felt like I could never do enough to please Him. I had so much gratitude for what He did for me that I tried to fill the gap that grace filled with good works.
But here is the truth…
We have been reading Ephesians as a church, and I have loved being it. It is so rich and packed with the story of God from creation to the cross, and the resurrection to our promised future. As we have begun Ephesians 2, I am still remembering these truths from chapter 1.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Ephesians 1:4-5
We were chosen before creation by Him. He chose us before creation, and for us was to be set apart and blameless in His sight. This was done “in love”, and He chose us to be adopted as His children through Jesus Christ. He chose us, because He loves us.
How do we know that we don’t have to earn God’s love? Simply put, scripture tells us so.
These scriptures have come alive more because of what Olivia has been experiencing in school. Wanting certain people to like her, and wanting to do things to gain friendships.
This has been so good to remind that we don’t have to do anything to obtain God’s love. It is impossible. And it is impossible because, He loved us before we knew what love was. He loved us before we had the choice to love Him back. It is a love that we are unworthy of, but don’t have to earn. That is how incredibly deep and endless His love is.
This is a timeless truth for all of us.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
More on grace next week, but I remember how freeing grace felt the moment I was freed from my sin, and made alive in Christ. I remember the day God took the weight of my sin off my shoulders, and the day I knew without a doubt I was forgiven. I knew this was true, because I knew I was loved. No more striving to earn God’s forgiveness, or grace, or spiritual blessing. It was there, and because of nothing that I could do. Just because of His love.
And it is good to remember back, how far God has brought us. I think that is one of the reasons Paul wrote the letter to the church of Ephesus. So they could remember, and not get settled in the grace that had been freely given.
His grace is too good, His faithfulness too unfailing, and His goodness too constant, for us to ever deviate from remembering, and having the deepest gratitude for what He has done because of His love for us.