I am taking a break from the “Notice and Discover” series today, just to remind you how very good you are.
I had been reflecting on my blog posts over the years, noticing how my soul-searching has often sought new ways to deepen in spirituality, make a good difference, become a better person, or follow God’s will more faithfully. Spiritual contemplation naturally leads us to seek God, long for God, and desire to improve and please God. But today I sensed that I need – and perhaps you do, too – to be uplifted with the reminder that we are already GOOD.
The Book of Genesis provides us with some beautiful imagery about creation and God’s desire to be in relationship with us. Those familiar verses, Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…” (vs. 1:26) and God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good (vs. 1:31), assure us that we have been created by God, and God sees us as very good.
The tender words of the psalmist (in Psalm 139:13-14) also describe how we have been tenderly created by and in the goodness of God…
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My gift for today is in knowing that God does not love us “anyway,” or “despite,” or “even so.” God loves us all “because.” We are loved and we are regarded as good, because we have been created by God… because God IS love… because we have been made the way God intended, “according to God’s likeness”… because we are all God’s children… because God sees us as good. God’s goodness makes us good! God’s love is never contingent; it is not contingent on our good behavior, on the depth of our faith, or on anything Jesus has done for us.
Oh, we will make mistakes. At times we will do or say things that are NOT good. And yet, we can trust that God still regards us as inherently good, beloved children. God knows us at our core, and God knows our full potential. God understands us – and the challenges life brings – and knows exactly how and why we went wrong. God then forgives us and offers us opportunities to learn and grow from our mistakes.
Our longing to deepen in faith, our desire to do what pleases God, and our yearning to follow the ways of Christ will not bring God’s greater love. However, these pursuits will bring our greater joy! Our longing and aching for more of God is a God-given gift in itself. When we seek to mature and perfect ourselves in faith and discipleship, we are accepting an invitation to the greater joy that comes with surrender. A joy that will not only fill us, but will then overflow out into our world. The world that God calls, “very good.”
You are so very good. You are shining lights in God’s eyes. Shine with joy today, dear friends. Shine on!
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalm 16:11 NRSV)
Photo by Karen, Hurricane, WV
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/