"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
John 10:27 (ESV)
My inner-dialogues are often quite condemning and cynical. All too often, they are full of comparisons and accusations.
God must be angry at you. Why else would [this or that] happen?
You aren’t as organized as [insert annoyingly organized person’s name here]. You’re disorganized.
Why don’t you read your Bible more? Pray more? You’re not as spiritual as you should be.
[Insert perpetually chipper parent’s name here] wouldn’t snap at their kids like that. You’re impatient.
Pastor [insert name of shiny/happy/mega church pastor here] is so much better at everything than you. You’re incompetent.
My little voices are like nit-picky compliance officers, toting clipboards around my brain and looking for code violations. They invoke law. Sometimes, it's the “Big L” law of God. Other times, it's the “Little L” laws of others. In either case, they bark standards, expose deficiencies, and demand that I fix them - NOW!
Sometimes, I think that I do. But most of the time, I know that I don’t.
I know that, left to myself, God should be angry at me. Really, really angry.
I know that I’m never as organized as some would want me to be, as I know I should be.
I know that I don’t read my Bible or pray as much as I probably should.
I know that I’m not as patient as some other parents.
I know that other pastors are shinier, happier, and more influential.
I know that the "Big L” law of God and the "Little L” laws of others condemn me. The voices of my internal compliance officers never ever let me forget. They grind me down, demoralize me, and would utterly debilitate me if they could.
But they don't have to. Not anymore.
Why? Because the all-surpassing sufficiency of Jesus Christ met and overcame my insufficiencies. My performance no longer defines me. I’m now and forever defined by his performance for me. What I am now in Christ eclipses whatever I was or wasn’t apart from him. All of the obedience and atonement necessary has been offered. It is finished.
Now, when those cynical, accusing little compliance officers in my mind bark that I’ve fallen short of the "Big L” law of God or the “Little L” laws of others, I get to bark back at them.
Because it is finished, you’re finished. Get out.
Child of God: By God's grace, you know your Shepherd's voice. Listen to his voice above every other, including your own. He's the only one who always tells the truth. Spend some time in God's Word today, reminding yourself of your new identity and your Father's great love for you.
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