I am my own punching bag. I don’t even glove up. I go at it, bare-knuckled. I pull the ropes apart, jump around and look into the mirror of me. I’m already scarred up, like some sort of Prisoner of War, but I don’t waste time, I jump on myself like the clock is running. A left, then a right, an uppercut, a 1-2 punch, and I slip a knee into the side of my own self.
Then I reach into my soul and grab an extra fistful of anxiety and hammer into my own chin. It looks like this won’t be much of a fight. I’ve spent all day warming up for this brawl, cursing myself for stressing over nothing. That’s what I do to psyche myself out. I judge myself, I stress out over stressing out, I worry about worrying over nothing. It’s a hamster wheel, and it’s a killer.
I beat down my dreams, and I slap away God’s own hand. How could He trust me? I think. How could He ever use such a loser like me? Why would He want His name connected with mine? There must be others He could use that would do this job just fine.
That’s a sad perspective. Viewing God as the Judge just waiting for me to sin so He can drop the hammer is sad and just plain wrong. He is the healer and restorer. Because of Jesus, my life has been redeemed. Even when I make a mistake, I have to remember that redemption is immediate, while restoration is a patient process.
This is the Good News: the One Who restores is willing to get messy with me. It’s not Jesus plus my good works. It’s not Jesus plus my church. It’s not Jesus plus my experience or testimony. It’s not Jesus plus the amount of Scripture I’ve memorized. It is Jesus plus absolutely nothing that gives us everything.
We know that our righteousness is like filthy rags compared to Him. We know that salvation is through nothing but Him. There is nothing we could possibly construct in our minds or with our words to make Jesus any greater than He already is – any more gracious or loving or kind or compassionate or more able to conquer the grave.
He is the Ultimate. He is the Greatest. No superhero can match what our Savior has done and continues to do. It’s the truth: there’s no fictional character that the greatest imagination in the world could create whose power would match Jesus Christ. God, divided by infinity still equals everything. Split God in half, what do you have? More than everything you need. Am I making sense here? You could divide God a million different ways, but Love remains. You could split God by 1,000 but Truth remains. There’s nothing you could do to take away from Who and What God is. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. In Him is our source, our satisfaction, our sustenance, our salvation, and the answer to our every question and need. God divided by everything, still equals everything.
Love covers it all. Though some sins may seem more heinous than others, forgiveness remains constant. Actions change, “bad” seems to increase or decrease, but forgiveness remains the same, no matter what.
No lesson, no trial, no temptation, no screw-up, no falter, failure, flip-out, or fall is wasted because God is love. I rumble and sway from side to side, throwing punches and judgement, leaving mercy behind. In a fit of self-condemnation, I miss the fact that Our Father is in my corner, dispensing mercy and grace each time stop for a cool drink of water. When I slow down long enough to recognize that The One in my corner is has already been hailed as Champion, the deep breaths come. This fight has already been won.
Jesus plus nothing equals everything.