The words come out easy—maybe too easy. “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
That’s the blueprint your son provided the disciples—and us—when we approach you in prayer. Those words carry your certainty (you are in Heaven). They carry your awesomeness (hallowed be your name). They carry your control (your kingdom come, your will be done). They carry your promise (give us this day our daily bread). They carry your cleansing (forgive us our debts). And they carry your direction and protection (deliver us from evil).
Still, while that prayer flows through my head—and over my lips—as easily as I breathe, I sometimes question. How can you love me as I am? Why do you love me as I am? Each day I strive to do what’s right in your eyes, and each day I crumble when I miss the mark, either in thought or deed or word. And the vicious circle repeats: I’m not good enough to approach you, so I try harder, and then I again come up short—and I only validate my own mindset of not being worthy enough to approach you.
And when I question, I hesitate. I hesitate to approach you. To seek your guidance. To confess my sins. To give you all that troubles my heart. I’m not worthy to approach you. I need to straighten things out before I can do that.
How can someone have the unconditional—and sacrificial—love you do? Sacrificial to the point of sending your own son to his death so we could live.
I question my worthiness of this gift. There has to be a string attached, right? Then I realize, if I remain still long enough, yes, there is a string—and it connects your heart to mine in the form of your son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
It’s never been about accomplishments and achievements. About serving. About giving. Those are important for us, as followers of Christ, but done out of love for you and thanks to you. Indeed, you provided the laws to Moses not so people would have a checklist of how to live, but to point out that we can’t live apart from you. We can’t meet those expectations on our own. We can’t try harder or do more. Only one person has achieved perfection, and He sacrificed his life for us and uttered those words just before He took his last breath: It is finished.
It was that work. That accomplishment.
So it’s true, I have done nothing—and can do nothing—to earn your love and acceptance. But your assessment is not like that of the world’s. We push to achieve. We set goals. We work hard. We strategize. We stress. We have expectations for ourselves and expectations are placed upon us. None of those are in your plan for us to approach you—for us to earn the gift of eternal life you have for us. Your word says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
One thing we have to do, though: Bow down before you, hands open and confess our sins. Confess that we don’t know the right path. Your word tells us as much: There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. And we can accept the gift you so eagerly want to give. There is no minimum requirement we need to meet. No prerequisites. No entry exam. Just a contrite heart that’s willing to be transformed.