Have you ever found yourself working so hard for someone else’s approval? Maybe you change the way you dress to get their attention, or you stay up late going over every detail of your project for the third time to make sure yours is the one that gets recognition. The approval cycle is exhausting, isn’t it?
When we confess our need for God and surrender our life over to him, we get to rest in who he is. That kind of rest is a deep breath of joy and freedom.
There is no room for self-righteousness where the gospel is concerned. In today’s reading, Paul reminds us that salvation is closer to us than we realize (Romans 10:5–10). In fact, it’s in our hearts and in our mouths. Jesus has already died and offered forgiveness for our sins and a life of freedom. Now, the ball is in our court. If we publicly acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and believe with our hearts the gospel, salvation is ours. Isn’t that good news?
Jesus offers us rest for our weariness (Matthew 11:29). We exchange a life of guilt and shame for a life of freedom through Jesus. What does this exchange look like?
We consciously reject those thoughts and actions that tell us that our worth is found apart from Christ. We let go of our self-prescribed identities and embrace the identity that God offers us in Jesus.
When we desire a relationship with him, we forget about all of our privileges and claims to fame, as Paul did (Philippians 3:10–14). Paul was eager to reject all the things he could boast in: his heritage, his education, and his standing within the religious community. He let these all go so he could have a relationship with Jesus.
When deciding to let go of our model of self-righteous living and confess our need for God, we are headed toward a life filled with freedom and joy.