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The house was a bit stressed as we loaded my mother's belongings in boxes to be given away. She had passed away a year ago and now it was time to part with those memories. My dad had also sold the home they built together so our emotions were at an all-time high.

It seemed as though I could do nothing right that weekend. I worked so hard to put the dishes away correctly in the dishwasher, clean the counters, etc. Those things seemed to matter a great deal to my dad.

However, I reached a high frustration level when we were told that the chairs were not put back correctly on the patio. It was one more thing. Determination to be perfect and keep everything in order had failed. I was exhausted from trying.

I got into my car to return home, tired and feeling like a failure. Leaving the driveway, I began to cry. No matter how hard I tried, I could not be perfect.

In fact, right then I realized that I had spent my entire life trying to do things well enough. After receiving Christ as my Savior, I continued in this pattern.

I just put all my effort into working hard to please my heavenly Father. I was determined to be the best, and I soon learned to be a great performer for Jesus as well.

As I journeyed down the road, God began to speak to me about the covenant He made with Abraham. He brought me back to Genesis 15.
And He said to him, Bring to Me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he brought Him all these and cut them down in the middle in to hales and laid each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not divide.

...When the sun was setting a deep sleep overcame Abram, and a horror of great darkness assailed and oppressed him.... When the sun had gone down and a thick darkness had come on, behold, a smoking oven and a flaming torch passed between those pieces. On the same day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram....
(Gen. 15:9-10,17-18)
I could sense the Lord's still small Voice comforting me with these words, "I knew you would never be perfect. You would never be able to put the chairs all back in the right place, all the dishes in the dishwasher perfectly and that you, along with all mankind, would fail in your ability to keep this covenant. Thus, you would be bound to die." (Covenant breakers were to be killed.)

God whispered so very gently, "That is why I walked in-between on your behalf. I am the flaming torch. I gave my life so that you would not have to."

In other words, He said, "Julaine, I knew that you could never be perfect so Jesus will be perfection for you. You can relax. I already did it. Even in your weakness, you are loved. Even in your inability to do it all right, you are loved."

In Ephesians it says,
But God - so rich is He in His mercy. Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loves us, even when we were dead by our own shortcomings and trespasses He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ;

(He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for it is by grace that you are saved and made partakers of Christ's salvation.)
(Eph. 2:14)
Determination can carry us so far and we tire out. What is it that sustains us in our spiritual walk? What makes our walk with God enjoyable? It certainly isn't our works.

Remember, we tire out quickly. We have all memorized the scripture in Romans 3:28 that says we are not justified by works.

I read recently about a famous racehorse named Secretariat. He won race after race. In fact, this horse was probably one of the most famous racehorses in history. When the horse died, they did an autopsy just to see why he could run at such a distance with such speed and endurance.

Much to their surprise, the doctors found that his heart was nearly twice the size of the normal horse. Secretariat had an enlarged heart. This is what gave him the endurance to continually run the distance.

What carried this horse is what carries the believer. When our heart is enlarged, our capacity to love and be loved expands. When we know that our Creator loves us and we can receive that love not for what we can do but because we are His children, something happens inside.

We can run the distance. We can live an enjoyable life in Christ knowing that it has all been done. We are not performers for the kingdom of God. We don't always put the chairs back correctly but in our weaknesses and immaturity, we are loved. I can do nothing to make Him love me any less or any more. He just does.

Just think of that. You don't have to try to be perfect...to perform so everyone will think highly of you...to be the best. You can be YOU. Just BE YOU, however that looks.

I am not talking about sloppy living - I am saying, you can relax and be the best you can for the kingdom. He loves you right where you are today. Get back up and press on toward the prize of the high calling in Christ.

So...I am okay even if the chairs are out of order. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice. I am free.

Copyright © Julaine Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Julaine Christensen
Web site: Julaine International Ministries
 
At the age of 26, Julaine gave her life to Christ in Washington, D.C., while working as a legislative aide on Capital Hill. Since then she has followed Him diligently. While moving about the country, she taught high school English and Bible for 18 years. In March of 1992, in obedience to the call of God, Julaine was licensed by the Assemblies of God and then in April of 1998, she was ordained. Throughout all this time, key philosophies were being developed in her life.
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