For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
He loves you just ’cause you’re His child. He does not come to you saying, “If you clean your room, I will love you today.” Or, “If you make straight A’s, I will love you.” He does not place conditions or requirements on His love for you. He loves you when you do well, and He loves you when you fail. He is crazy in love with you not because of the works you have done but because you placed your faith in the works of His Son.
There are no “levels of righteousness” with God. There is only one level, which is the perfect level that only Christ could reach. Relating to God is not like a cosmic arcade game where the higher the level you ascend, the greater the reward you receive. It’s not like the harder you work for God’s affection, the more love He will give to you. The Son of God already hit the highest possible level. Jesus gave the perfect sacrifice on the cross, which was entirely satisfying to our Father.
There is only one thing for you to do: accept the Son’s works and live in the freedom of the Father’s love. That is the kind of parental love you want to give to your children. Walk up to your young son, rub his head, and tell him that you love him just ’cause. If he is an older child, you may want to do something like hug him. How about if you squeeze your daughter’s hand and tell her that you love her? If she asks, “Why?” Say, “Just ’cause. Just ’cause you’re my daughter, and I thank God that He gave you to me. You are a gift to me, and I appreciate you.”
Let them know you love them often and without an expectation that they must meet your preferred requirements. There are other times when you can talk about holiness, obedience, and following Jesus. Today, love them without tying your affections to expectations of performance. If you want to blow their minds totally, show them your love just moments after they disappoint you.
Sin moments are fantastic times to reaffirm your love for them. Surprise them with grace, which is always better than yelling at them as you remind them what a disappointment they are to you. Grace is how your Father treats you. It feels good. It motivates you to love Him in return. I’m not saying you should not deal with their sin, but part of dealing with a person’s sin is making sure they know you’re crazy in love with them.
Are you crazy in love with your children? Do they know you’re crazy in love with them? Is there any hint in their hearts to perform for you because you have put that thought in their minds? It’s one thing for them to feel like they need to please you because of their Adamic natures, but it’s a horrible thing if a parent motivates them to be people pleasers.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).