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Backing Through the Garage Door

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. – Romans 15:7

"Grace is not a license to sin, but to walk in humility. We are not tied up with how much we have done, or not done, but we learn by the grace of God to rest in his love." – Curtis McComis

I was setting off for the grocery store last week and backed through — not out of — the garage door.

My routine was off. Ordinarily I step out of the house and into the garage, open the big door, get in the truck, and back out. But I decided that it would be good to take the dog with me.

Since the dog is prone to run off, and I wasn’t in the mood to chase her, I didn’t open the garage door first; I was planning to do that after the dog got in the truck. This was a workable plan. I just forgot to execute the "open the garage door" step and the plan happened to have a low tolerance for missing that part.

Well, the dog isn’t smart enough to know that what occurred wasn’t standard procedure. Don’t all masters gnash their teeth, hit their heads on steering wheel, and walk around the truck raising their arms up and down saying, "Oh no!" But Dianne knew better. She emerged from the house with her arms up in the air as well. "What happened? How did you do that?"

You know, those were tough questions to answer. "Well, dear, you’ll notice that the dog is in the front seat of the truck along with the shopping list for the grocery store, and, well . . . "

It wasn’t the most graceful show I’ve put on in my life. After I had gone to the store, I pulled the garage door back inside the garage and went to sit on the patio and think. Nothing is really any worse for wear. There’s a dent in the door and the truck has a scratch on the fender but all in all everything is fine. Trucks are supposed to have scratches on their fenders.

Dianne was in the house asleep and the dog was lying at my feet listening to whatever dogs listen to, but I was not fine. I had performed poorly. I wasn’t proud of Pres and didn’t feel very acceptable. But as I sat on the patio waiting for the adrenaline to clear out of my system so I could go to bed, the Lord began to remind me of how accepted I am.

How long has it been since you reminded yourself that there is nothing you can do that will make God accept you less? And how long since you’ve reflected on the fact that there is nothing you can do to cause God to accept you more? How long since you’ve buckled down and determined to accept yourself as God does?

God’s acceptance isn’t conditional or performance based. He declared us accepted in Christ (Romans 15:7) and makes no provision for changing His mind. Backing through garage doors is hard on doors, trucks, and perspective but it has no effect on the fact of His acceptance. The Lord reminded me that everything was cool — including me — that while the paint on the truck is scratched, my acceptance is untarnished because it is based upon my identity in Christ.

The challenge and reminder are both unmistakable: Line your perspective up with the Lord’s. Being an accepted person doesn’t go up and down based upon whether the garage door does.

Focus for the day:

There is nothing I can do to make God love me more than He does and I can do nothing to make Him love me any less.

Verse to remember:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude 24).

Question to consider:

Performance-based-acceptance is pretty much the norm for our culture. Does God have you on a performance-based-acceptance? How should you accept yourself?

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.