Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. Habakkuk 2:4 (NLT)
I am not ashamed of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—to save the Jews first, and then to save non-Jews. The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself—that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, “But those who are right with God will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 (NCV)
“I Don’t Want Your Bone, I Want You!”
Morning is “coffee time.” As I sat in my chair reading and pondering the truth of Romans 1, I invited Ozzy to join me. As I called, his ears perked up and he trotted toward me. I readied myself for his jump onto my lap. At the last moment, Ozzy made a quick turn and grabbed his bone. With his bone squarely in his jaw, he approached the chair. As he got closer, he loosened his grip on the bone.
“Silly dog,” I said, “I don’t want your bone, I want YOU!” With that, he jumped into my lap.
Granted, I can’t truly know what Ozzy was thinking. I do know this. I purchased that $4 piece of plastic because I knew Ozzy would enjoy gnawing on it. Enjoy it he does! When that bone slides under the bookcase, Ozzy will lay on the floor sad-eyed until someone retrieves his dear bone. This is the other thing I know; Ozzy’s favorite, prized chew-toy is inconsequential to me. I wanted my precious puppy to sit on my lap. I wanted to scratch his ears and snuggle his fur. I wanted to share my special, alone-time moments with him. I called Ozzy to come to me. I didn’t ask for a gift. I didn’t ask for a token. I didn’t ask for anything other than his presence. Why? Because I love him.
As this little scene played out, the truth struck me. God wants ME. That’s the message of the Gospel—God reaches out to humanity. God isn’t interested in my résumé. He’s not impressed with my accomplishments. God doesn’t need my stuff. The reality I so easily forget—everything I have and everything I am is a gift from Him.
The crushing truth is also the glorious truth—I am inconsequential to God—but still He calls me to Him. He calls me to Him because of His perfect love for me.
The same is true for you.
God Wants You
Paul quoted God’s words to Habakkuk—the Old Testament prophet you’ve probably ignored. If you don’t know Habakkuk’s story—here’s the one sentence version. Habakkuk was irritated with God because of the injustice he witnessed in society—so he told God about it and the two of them had a chat.
God shared a simple truth with Habakkuk. God is interested in your response to Him—nothing less, nothing more. It’s the one thing God doesn’t possess. It’s the one thing that makes us all the same. Regardless of your station in life—rich, poor, smart, dull, beautiful, homely, accomplished, looser, CEO or bum—God offers the same call and waits for a response.
It’s what makes Christianity different from every other religion. God reaches out to man. Instead of works, God looks for faith. Faith that you’ll accept His invitation. Faith that you’ll trust His love. Faith in the relationship God wants to have with you.
Paul restated God’s own words to Habakkuk–those who are right with God will live by faith.
Grace—favor you don’t deserve. It’s not earned. It’s not a goal. It’s not a religion. It’s a gift. A gift for anyone who answers the call, “Come to Me.”
Faith is the response to God’s loving grace—faith in God’s ability to change a wicked heart.
Oh, your heart isn’t wicked? Paul has some news for you.
Father, thank you for calling me—not for what I can do for You, not for what I suppose I should be—but for calling me in my wickedness to be Your child. Remind me when I try to impress You with stuff or my skills that it’s me You love because I’m Your creation. Thank You for the gift of grace. Help my faith to increase. Help me trust Your love.