We all love a good fairy-tale. The beautiful Jasmine and her flying carpet hero Aladdin, or my favorite, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, or the classic Cinderella and her Prince Charming who sweeps her off her feet. Cinderella worked tirelessly her whole life, and then love changed everything and her “dreams came true.” She didn’t work for Prince Charming’s love. In fact, she ran away from him, ashamedly afraid of what he would discover was hiding behind the glass slippers.
But the prince loved her and it didn’t matter what she did, where she came from, or what she wore. He wanted her.
Somewhere between being the twirling princess and having our own little princes and princesses, we stop believing in fairy tales.
We find out that life requires hard work and if we expect to achieve anything worthwhile, we are going to have to go at it with all we have.
But when it comes to Jesus, it’s different. That’s where we need to take a cue from our classic princess with the glass slippers. Yes, as good students of scripture, we understand that salvation comes through “grace alone, not by works lest anyone should boast.” Jesus did all the work and paid a debt we could never pay with any amount of hard work – to give us eternal access to the perfect Creator.
But, just like in real life where fairy tales fade, somewhere between humbly giving Jesus our hearts and living out our faith, we stop believing that Christ has the power to continue transforming our hearts.
We start taking the load back.
We start believing that we are responsible for our own “fruit” and we lose the wonder of being pursued, paid for, and empowered.
The truth is that, just like we can never earn salvation on our own power, we can never produce a Christian life that honors God on our own strength. It’s often said that the Christian life is difficult. But, I disagree. It’s impossible. That’s exactly why the Bible is chock-full of treasure verses that declare beyond all doubt that our day-to-day power for transformation comes from His power working in and through us.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might… Colossians 1:11
From his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you… Ephesians 3:16
I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength… Philippians 4:13
Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh… Galatians 5:16
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy peace… Galatians 5:22-23
Next time that you catch yourself working over-time to be more patient, trying to “stuff-in” more godliness, or guilting yourself over how you don’t have enough “self-control,” remember that you’re taking back something that Jesus paid for with His precious spilt blood.
Within marriage, you know that the more time you spend with your spouse, the more you understand what is important to them, what makes them feel loved, and, as a result, you grow into a better wife.
With your children, the more time you intentionally spend with your child, listening to their heart, finding their passions, and learning to love them for who they are, the better mom you become. Not because you’re reading parenting books, attending conferences, or trying to be a pinterest mommy, but because You Love Them.
Bottom Line: The more intentional time you spend with someone, whether spouse, child, friend, or Jesus, the more you find yourself loving them… deeply.
Yes, you have to choose to be intentional, but it’s the mysterious resurrection power of the Godhead working in you, empowering you, transforming your very heart, so that at the end of the day, it’s all about Jesus working through you, not you building yourself up.
“Not by works, lest any one should boast.” It’s true about salvation, and it’s true for our daily lives. Perhaps, like me, you are ready for a little more grace, and a little less heavy burden. The best part is that this isn’t a fairy-tale. This is real life!
Jesus plus nothing equals everything – take that truth and go dancing in your glass slippers!