(Guest post Author Paul Anderson, you might have seen his comments on this blog under Pop-pop)
The Bible changed my life! There can be no doubt. It was in reading the Bible with my mother during morning devotions before I went to school when I was a teenager that I discovered God’s love for me went beyond what I could begin to imagine. It was during those devotional times I learned there was no limit to God’s sacrificial love. But reading both the history of Israel and observing God’s providential care, and then studying the life of Jesus in the Gospels convinced me that God cared about me. Absolutely amazing!
My problem: no matter how much I read His word, no matter how many times I would read about His perfect plan for my life, I somehow always managed to fall short. I love the Jesus I encountere in the Bible, and I loved the Father who cared for me, but I never felt I measured up. I always felt like I had something to prove – and I was not very good at accomplishing that task. As much as I wanted to please God, I was convinced I could not.
Romans 7:15-18 seemed to exemplify my life: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do . . . I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Living under the constant state of failing to please the one I wanted to please the most was a recipe for disaster. (And note, the apostle Paul struggled with this too).
Thankfully the story does not end in Romans 7. One day I read Romans 8:1 and was given a new clarity through the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” No condemnation? Even if I fail?
What liberation! To understand God is not up in heaven keeping a running tally of all my sins (He’d need a large notebook for that – with pages that could be added daily). What He has promised is that if I come to Him in faith, and trust Him to lead me – He will.
The Word of God has reminded me that God is not out to get me like the villain in some novel. Instead, God desires to get me to bring me into His family. He hasn’t given up on me. And He won’t give up on me. Like the Prodigal Son’s father, our Heavenly Father leaves the light on for us, waiting with arms wide open.
How has the Bible impacted me? It changed my life. It brought, and continues to bring, hope in a world without much hope. It reminds me on a daily basis that not only has God not given up on me – but He has not given up on the world He created.