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Burden of Proof

listI keep a journal of what God speaks to me and on June 27, I woke up to my Father saying these words,

Freedom doesn’t come because of how bad you want it. It comes from knowing Me.

Then I wrote these words:

Father, I renounce trying to change myself, my mind, my patterns, my thinking. My self-will and determination don’t produce righteousness or freedom. I resolve to know you, nothing else. My prayer or anything else doesn’t effect change, You do.  

It’s a reminder I’ve had a thousand times and quite possibly might need a thousand more. I’ve found myself to be the unlovable one, and I don’t want to just accept His love and forgiveness, I want to earn my way back and prove I’m worthy.

Francis Chan wrote it this way,

Have you ever felt this way? Do you ever want to distance yourself from Him because you feel so much shame over your sin? This was a regular pattern for me. I wanted to prove that I was sorry for what I did by being faithful for a period of time. I wanted to develop a good track record before pursuing my relationship with Him again. I wanted God to see that I could be a good servant. Then I felt good enough to talk with God again. But God didn’t want a good slave who tried really hard. He wanted me to see that He was a good Father.

I want to focus on me as a slave and He wants me to focus on Him as Father.

I used to try to keep track of how many days since my last blow up or blow out or failure or whatever else. I put certain prayers and scripture reading into a regular rotation. I see now, I did it for me. I did it because I thought I would be free from the failures, the shortcomings, and the sin.

My goal was a changed me.

All along, our Abba Father was trying to get me to see Him. The right prayers, the right sermons, the right disciplines–there’s no such thing. There is only knowing Him. You can’t try hard enough, work long enough, or earn anything. It’s bondage and opposed to how God treats His sons.

Like the father in the story of the lost son, he came back ready to make amends and prove he’d changed. The father wasn’t interested because he had his son back, the one who once was dead was alive again.

It is the Holy Spirit who brings the Father’s reassuring message to you today as He says, “bring the robe, bring the ring, I love you so much we’re going to dance.”

He is a good Father. That’s the story–end to end.

Do you ever struggle with this? What helps you keep it in perspective or bring you back?

Welcome to Chapter 5 of our book club discussion of Forgotten God (disclosure) by Francis Chan. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it (a chapter per week). If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!


  1. How have I known you this long and not realized that we had this in common?

    I won’t preach here. The rest of my comment is in the form of my blog post. You know the address. 🙂
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Do You Know…?My Profile

    • I don’t know because I always feared it was fairly obvious! Thanks Sarah--looking forward to reading yours.

  2. It gives us all immense relief when we realize there is nothing we can do to make us better in God’s eyes. He loves for who we are, where we are, and waits patiently for us to totally depend upon Him.
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..A Time for Every Purpose . . .My Profile

    • Exactly. In my trying to hurry things along, I end up defeated. In resting in Him, I find hope and strength. Thanks Martha!

  3. It’s that growing, maturing, pruning, growing process. God keeps at it in spite of best efforts.
    Glynn recently posted..The Spirit of NecessityMy Profile

    • “In spite of”--that’s a great way to say it. Thanks Glynn!

  4. “My goal was a changed me.”


    How many of us can echo that? We become so intent on making ourselves what we think God wants that our focus is on us instead of on God.

    Seek God first… and all you need will be added (Matthew 6:33)

    We don’t need to be seeking our own improvement. We need to be seeking God.
    We don’t need to be trying to be Godly. We need to be seeking God.
    We don’t need to be trying to be less of a sinner. We need to be seeking God.

    And He is not hiding from us. If we seek Him, we will find Him with arms wide open. If we seek Him, everything that is needed, He will provide.

    • Amen. Delight yourself in the Lord and He’ll give you the desires of Your heart. We can trust Him completely. Thank you, Dusty. Good thoughts.

  5. Yeah, you’re not alone. I struggle with this too. Punishing myself for my weakness, as if I were God that had the power to do so! It’s a good heart to feel repentant, but an unwise one to try to take the place of God. How’s that for an understatement?

    • Ha! Yeah that’s so true. Having the faith to believe you’re forgiven the 50th time like you were the first--that can be hard. But it’s still true. Thank you, Floyd.

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