I just wanted to share with you this wonderful passage from Mark Driscol's book Death by Love:
"Jesus loved us through the cross before we loved him, and his love transforms us so that we can love him and love others. Thankfully this obedience is not what we have to do because of duty, but rather what we get to do in delight. Therefore, unlike with religion, Jesus loves us so that we might obey him rather than demanding that we obey him so that he might love us."
It's so easy to slip into the stream of legalism and behavior modification. I often struggle with unconsciously believing that I must somehow earn God's love ( as if that were even possible!), rather than responding to his generous love in obedience. This proves particularly difficult with the addictive sin that I find myself cycling in and out of. When I remain faithful to Christ's promise of a transformed heart and mind, and I have stretches of true victory over my food issues / eating disorder, I can sometimes forget where that strength originated. I tend to think "Wow, look I'm doing so well! I'm actually becoming a pretty good person now!" This is such a lie. Any "goodness" in me comes from him, not from me. I can no more take credit for it than I can take credit for my hair color or nationality. It was a gift. But when my deceived heart starts to believe that I am overcoming my sin, I begin to rely on my strength. Obedience is motivated out of pride rather than love. And I, again, seem to think on some unspoken level that I am cleaning myself up so that God will want me. This, in and of itself, is despicable and highly dangerous, but it also leads to my falling back into sin when my own strength inevitably fails me. Thank God that he made me so weak that I have to rely on him every single second of every single day to be faithful to him! Thank God that he saves me from myself, my rules, my religiosity (Yes, Wendorf, that was a shout out to you and your preference for the word ;)! How counter intuitive is the love, grace, and sacrifice of God! How difficult it is for me to even slightly grasp!