I remember the first time I heard Romans 3:23-24. I was about 8 years old sitting in the front pew of our church listening to the choir director of our Vacation Bible School. I loved VBS, the crafts, the community, the hands-to-the-sky worship (that’s probably why I love the Bible Journaling community so much too!). The theme this particular year was all about the universal truths of the Scripture: how Jesus died on the cross for us, that God will never leave us, etc. So I’m sitting there in that pew listening to the choir teacher get ready to teach us a song all about Romans 3:23-24 & first she reads the passage aloud:
“…for all have sinner & fall short of the glory of God and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Now, I grew up going to church every Sunday, so I knew from a very young age that Jesus died on the cross for us. But I think it maybe wasn’t until that moment that it really clicked for me what the significance of it all was. I was a very VERY anxious child. Constantly worrying about whether I was doing the right thing, following all the rules, that things were in the right order, ensuring all the safety features in our home were working– things that a child at the age of 8 shouldn’t be worrying about. Later in life I would find out that those were actually symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but on that day I was just a very worried little girl with too much anxiety about the world around her.
When I heard that scripture passage & discovered that EVERYONE sinned & that we ALL were sure to fall short of His glory, I was surprised… and relieved beyond belief. I wasn’t the only one sinning! Despite my struggle to always follow the rules, I often slipped up & it was a revelation to me that I would be forgiven for my mistakes or lapses in judgement. It was a huge weight lifted off of my little shoulders. The truth will set you free, & boy did it! I was relieved by these truths. That as long as I accepted Christ & did my best to live like Him, I would live eternal. That’s a lot for ANYONE to process, let alone a little 8 year old. But I felt like that was one worry I could check off my list. Because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for generations to come, I would be forgiven for not getting life exactly right. God wasn’t going to abandon me if I messed up or made a mistake. That anxious little girl slept a little bit easier that night.
To this DAY the comfort I take from that passage is irreplaceable. In fact, the past week & a half hasn’t been easy for me. It’s really nothing specific. I just realize that I can’t do it all. I can’t please everyone 100% of the time. Things happen. LIFE happens. The only one we really need to please is God. And He will forgive you.
If you’re struggling because you just can’t seem to do it all, let yourself off the hook. If you’re frustrated with yourself because you didn’t get life exactly right this week, know that He’s not going to leave you. If you’re anxious about a big mistake you’ve made or you’ve really messed something up, know that your crown is bought & paid for. Just do your best because it’s written right there in Romans that we ALL fall short of the glory of God. But Christ has carried that burden for you. Let yourself become 8-year-old me & let that weight be lifted from your shoulders. Because this is the truth about being saved.