Day 1: 

Fully Accepted


10 “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 

- Galatians 3:10-11 (NLT)

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get in. 

Allison’s exclusive club of girls at my private school was all the rage, but I found myself on the outside - jealously looking in. Her group had the best hair, the best accessories, and the best shoes - somehow making our plaid uniforms look cool. But worst of all, was their laughter - whispers and giggles behind cupped hands, as if they were all in on the same hysterical secret: that I was just a joke. 

I tried hard to please them, follow their rules, but the demands were always changing, always shifting, so that only one thing was certain: I would never be accepted.

Fast forward 30 years, and the threat of rejection can still have its angry grip on me. It can lead me to over-work, over-worry, over-think, and under-estimate God’s true love for me. And, as Dane Ortlund writes on page 181 in his book Gentle and Lowly, it leaves me living “for the heart of Christ” not “from the heart of Christ,” so that instead of living from His blessings, I’m striving for His blessings.

And striving, my friends,  is no way to live.

In fact, we are warned of this in Galatians 3:10, when Paul writes, “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse…” He goes on to say in verse 11, “ one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.’”

And isn’t that precisely what we want? Not only life, but life to its fullest?

This isn’t just work. This is mind-changing work. This is the wrestling-the-old-for-the-new type of work. 

Ortlund describes it as “replacing your natural orphan mind-set with a mind-set of full and free adoption into the family of God through the work of Christ…” (181).

Make no mistake, this is a battle. A battle won by surrendering the “subtle belief that our obedience strengthens the love of God” (182). 

You see, unlike the Allisons of this world, Christ will never cast us out. There is no exclusive club. No changing rules, no heavy laws.

Instead, there is only an invitation: To be loved - as we are, where we are - without measure, without works. Just loved.

For reflection:

  1. In what ways does “depending on the law” keep you from living the life of love Christ died to give you?  

  1. Nothing can change God’s love for you. How does this impact your perspective on who He is? How does it impact your perspective on who you are in Him? 

Day 2:

Spiritual Practice


20My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” 

- Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT)

Yesterday, we unpacked how Christ accepts us fully, faults and all. There is no secret, exclusive club; nor is there a list of rules and regulations keeping us from His love.

Today we are going to continue to unpack more truths by pairing up every lie we think or speak to ourselves with Scripture. 

Create a chart on a piece of paper. On one side write “Lie” and on the other side write “Truth.”

Log the lies. List as many as you can out on the page. For example, I might write, “I am not enough” or “I must earn Christ’s approval.” 

Across the chart, research, and record a verse that combats that lie. For example, for “I am not enough,” I might write Psalm 139:14 - “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Keep the log in a place where you can easily reference it throughout your day, and when new lies seep in, log and record Scripture as your weapon of truth.

Day 3: 

Boundless Love


8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” 

- Romans 5:8 (NLT)

“Whatever, Mom!” Although my voice didn’t speak it, my eye roll certainly did.  “I’ll be fine!” I shouted over my shoulder as I loaded up into the driver’s seat of my mom’s beloved Buick. “I’ll just put the coffee mug on the passenger seat!”

At 17, this seemed like a perfectly good solution to having no cup holders in the car; my mom, concerned that I was a new driver, thought otherwise. 

She was right.

Less than a mile from my house, the filled mug flew to the floor, spewing hot coffee all over the car; when I reached for it, I turned the steering wheel in the same direction as my gaze. Within seconds, I managed to both grab the coffee cup while simultaneously smashing the prized Buick into a telephone pole.

Panic struck me as I got out of the Buick and saw its passenger side gutted all over the road. My parents, I knew, would be livid.

It was totaled.

The call home to my mom was emotional; so was her expression when she saw the wreck. She was grateful I wasn’t injured, happy I walked away unscathed. 

But I still had to face my father. 

I was petrified.

I still remember him standing in the living room after he saw the car at the local garage. I was so full of shame and regret; I expected the worst and was afraid of his rightful anger. But, instead of rage and wrath, my dad stood up, opened his arms, and embraced me.

I was forgiven. 

My dad’s pivotal decision to lean into love, lean into grace, would forever serve as a tangible glimpse of God’s unconditional love for me. In that moment, in that mess, I deserved condemnation; but instead, I received compassion.

In Romans 5:8, we read that while we were still sinners, still in darkness, God loved us enough to send His Son to save us. And, if this seems hard to fathom; you’re not alone. 

Dave Ortlund explains in Gentle and Lowly, that His love is beyond comprehension because we project “our own capacities to love onto God” (190); but in truth, “God’s love is as boundless as God himself” (192). In fact, we read in 1 John 4:16 that God Himself is the very definition of love.

So what should we, as found followers of Christ, do when we fall short? We remember that “He loved us in our mess then. He’ll love us in our mess now” (194). Repent whole-heartedly, yes, “but reject the devil’s whisper that God’s tender heart for you has grown a little colder, a little stiffer” (194), and rest in the knowledge that “nothing can now un-child you” (195).

For reflection:

  1. Describe a time when you experienced a tangible glimpse of God’s love through another person. How did that feel? How does that still pale in comparison to God’s unconditional love? 

  2. In what ways do you limit God’s love for you? For others? Ask God to give you a new perspective on His boundless love.

Day 4: 

Spiritual Practice


For today’s devotional you are invited to select and do a practice from the  spiritual practices page. God bless your time with the Lord today.

Spiritual Practices