“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 5:8, NIV)
Friend to Friend
Growing up in a small East Texas town, I attended kindergarten through tenth grade in the same school district. When my dad announced we were moving to a suburb of Dallas, it rocked my world. While I threw a fit about all the changes at the time, I can look back now and see how God grew me in huge ways during that season. Our family connected with a dynamic church that took discipleship seriously.
The gal who became my closest friend was a cheerleader who wanted me on the squad. Since I didn’t have any cheer experience, she talked me into trying out for the mascot; and since I was the only one trying out, I got the job. At football and basketball games I wore a hawk costume and did skits for the children in the crowds. Inside the costume my eyes were level with the hawk’s beak. At this time in my life God was capturing my heart in a personal way, and today’s truth in Romans 5:8 resonated strongly with me. I wrote the verse on a scrap of paper and taped it inside that beak where I could see it during the games.
This verse encapsulates the gospel in a way that gets at the heart of my insecurities. I can talk a good grace game, but something inside of me wants to earn the love and approval of others, including God. I want to be a godly wife, loving mother, and sacrificial friend. At times my motives to live this way are the overflow of God’s love in me, but other times these goals come out of a place of hoping to be accepted. I want God and others to say, “Good job.”
When I read Romans 5:8, what makes me tear up every time is the phrase “While we were yet sinners.” The verse on that scrap of paper in the beak of my hawk costume forever burned those words in my memory even thirty years later:
Here is what God didn’t say:
- Because you read your Bible and pray every day
- Because you do good works
- Because other people say you are nice
- Because you got an A on your test or an accolade at work
No, God demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for us while we were still sinners. Whenever I get off track into “work hard so God will love you” mode, the Holy Spirit whispers these words in my ear, “While Melissa was still a sinner, Christ died for her.”
This is good news for me and good news for you too. While you were still a sinner, God demonstrated His love for you by sending Jesus. Bask in that truth today and receive His gift. Let it expose your insecurities so that you can stop striving and lean into His love.
Dear Lord, You are truly the God of hope. Through the death and life of Christ You have provided everything I need for this life and the next. Help me to stop spinning my wheels with activity so that I feel productive. Show me what it means to rest in You and allow You to live Your life through mine.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Say your name in the blanks below to move this truth a little closer to home:
But God demonstrates his own love for ____________________ in this: While ____________________ was still a sinner, Christ died for ____________________.
You probably won’t be wearing a hawk head today like I did in high school, but where can you put Romans 5:8 today where you will see it often? Perhaps on your phone or computer screen saver or maybe on a post-it note beside the kitchen sink or bathroom mirror? Allow God’s truth to renew your mind so that you always know how loved you are!
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Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of six women’s Bible studies including Romans: The Good News that Changes Everything. Find her online at www.melissaspoelstra.com.