Now.

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Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.)

But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
— Mark 2:15-17

'Maybe tomorrow.

When I’ve cleaned myself up a bit; cut out that thing; got a handle on my sin - then I’ll do it. Then I’ll really open up and meet with Him. Or if not tomorrow, definitely Sunday.’

I often find myself thinking this way. Or rather, I find myself living in a way that reveals this subconscious reasoning. I go through the motions of faith, knowing in my head that Jesus dealt with my sin at the cross, but without experiencing true intimacy with God - because I don’t surrender my heart.

I keep it to myself, scrubbing away at it, desperately trying to make it more presentable. Waiting for it to heal independently of Him so that He doesn’t have to encounter its sickness. Inching closer to that perfect moment when I’ll have finally ironed the last crease out of my life so that I can open the gates and let Him in.

Tomorrow.

The Accuser wants to keep us forever looking to tomorrow, living in that place of lonely isolation, scrubbing away at our hearts. He’ll tell you that this time you’ve really gone and done it. That you should probably just let God cool off for a while before you try and talk to Him again. Clean yourself up, cut it out for a few days, get a handle on it. Then you can approach Him. He’ll paint a picture of God brimming with fury, shaking His head in disappointment and turning His back in exasperation. So, we keep on scrubbing, trying to clean up the mess before we consider letting God in.

But God doesn’t want me when I’m good enough.
He doesn’t just want me tomorrow.
He wants me now.

In my sickness and mess and sin - now.

God is not begrudging. There is a kind of eagerness about the beneficence of God. He does not wait for us to come to him. He seeks us out, because it is his pleasure to do us good. God is not waiting for us; he is pursuing us. That, in fact, is the literal translation of Psalm 23:6: ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life.’

God loves to show mercy. He is not hesitant or indecisive or tentative in his desires to do good to his people. His anger must be released by a stiff safety lock, but his mercy has a hair trigger. God is never irritable or edgy. His anger never has a short fuse. Instead, he is infinitely energetic with absolutely unbounded and unending enthusiasm for the fulfilment of his delights.

This is hard for us to comprehend, because we have to sleep every day just to cope, not to mention thrive. Our emotions go up and down. We get bored and discouraged one day and feel hopeful and excited another. We are like little geysers that gurgle and sputter and pop erratically.

But God is like a great Niagara Falls. You look at 186,000 tons of water crashing over the precipice every minute, and think: surely this can’t keep going at this force year after year after year. Yet it does. That’s the way God is about doing us good. He never grows weary of it. It never gets boring to him. The Niagara of his grace has no end.
— John Piper

The Accuser will huff and puff; he will attack your confidence, steal your joy, and threaten to take your calling. He will point to your failures and try to drown you in your sin. He will work to waste your life away with anxiety by telling you it’s already over, that it’s only a matter of time until the lightning strikes, that if you’re in for a penny, you may as well be in for a pound. He will keep steering your thoughts back to what you’ve done and offer some vague point in the future when it’ll be ok for you to approach God again. Forever suggesting, "Tomorrow?".

He is a liar.

Today is the day for you to be right with God.
Now.

 

When confronted with the Enemy's lies, fight back with the Bible's truth.

I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offences like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.
— Isaiah 44:22

God doesn’t change His mind. He isn’t uncertain. He doesn’t wonder whether you’re still worth it. He loves you. Your identity is secure. Your sin is forgiven.

Jesus paid it all.

He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
— Colossians 2:14

You don’t need to hold onto it and punish yourself with it: you must give it to Jesus, only He can pay its debt. Confess it to Him and know that He has covered the cost of it with His life. Accept that it has been paid.

If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
— 1 John 1:9

Justice has been done, you are free, move on with your life. Respond by glorifying Him with your delight in Him. You aren’t worthless. You aren’t dirt. You aren’t unloved.

You stand in the victory of Christ.

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
— Hebrews 8:12
 

Know what is already true.

When we know we are light, we walk by the Spirit as children of light. When we know we are loved, we joyfully reflect Jesus’ heart of love. When we know ourselves as cherished children of God, we live in a way that desires to please our Father. We don’t need to take the robe off our backs, the rings from our fingers, the sandals from our feet, and return to live in the pigsty. Our Father has brought us into the family, into an eternal celebration, into a new identity, from which we fight and defeat sin in the power of His Spirit.

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.
— 1 Peter 3:18
 

You don’t need to wait any longer.

Come, now. Meet with Him, now. Give Him your heart, as it is, now. There is grace enough for all of it. He loves you and runs to meet you where you are, in your sin and mess and shame. Your deficiencies have been dealt with, definitively, at the cross. God drove a nail through your rebellion so that you can now rest in the sufficiency of His grace. Sit and delight in Him. Ignore the lies. See His true face. His kind eagerness. His love.

Meet with Him, and know that you are right with Him, now.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
— Hebrews 4:16
 
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