The Smile That Destroyed My Religion

How do you picture God “looking down at you”? Is He smiling, frowning, or somewhere in-between? Let’s explore those questions and discover the basis for our Father God’s acceptance of us His children.

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Much of my life I lived under the “frown of God,” or so I thought. I wasn’t a bad kid; in fact, I was quite religious and moral. But I wasn’t perfect, for sure (for one thing, I was a terrible big sister, mean, and self-centered toward my siblings). I knew God required perfection, so I was always working my way down a spiritual “to-do list” of some kind (depending on the Christian group I was with. They each had his or her own, you know).

In fact, as an adult, I even made up lists of my own to make me “spiritual,” pleasing to God so that He would love me more and not frown so much—a prayer list for each day, week, and month; fasting days; Scripture memorization schedule; Bible study plan, etc.

I was sincere but always wondering if I “qualified” to get God’s help to be and do what He wanted. I was a Christian, and I wasn’t working for my salvation. I knew that was secure because of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. No, this was my askew…no, more than askew… “messed up” way of living, what I thought was the “Christian life.”

Then, after years of this sin-focused, not working way of living, after years of struggle with a mixture of grace and “Christian law” (a.k.a. legalism), after failing health because of strange sensitivities and years of being thought of as a hypochondriac, I assumed God was judging me. And I finally gave up! I basically said to the Lord, “I can’t do this anymore!”

That’s when I heard the Voice and saw “the Smile that destroyed my religion.” My Father, through His indwelling Spirit, said to my heart:

“I love you even if you never do another thing right again.”

And in an instant, my soul was set free by the unconditional love of God: His “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.“*

When I embraced this message as God’s truth for my life, I began seeing it all over the Scriptures. I hadn’t so much before because I was focused on the “doing” passages and not the “done” passages, not on the truth verses, like these:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:1-2, NLT).

The Father Himself loves you (John 16:27, NASB).

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38–39, NASB).

So besides seeing LOVE all over the pages of God’s Word, I began to see His Smile that was, in reality, there all the time. Now I live under that Smile. I live in Grace, no longer law or a mix of law and grace…just Grace. Praise His Name!

What about you, my friend? Are you living under what you think is God’s frown or even His fickleness (back and forth)? Those are lies from the pit! Embrace God and His unconditional love: His “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”*

Live under His Smile and in pure Grace because that is your reality, O child of God.

*a quote from a magnificent children’s bible storybook: The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones, beautifully illustrated by Jago

 

 

This is an updated edition of a post originally published on abranchinthevine.com

Featured Image by Conner Ching
In-Text Image by Jan Loyd

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About the Author

Jan Loyd is a child of God, a disciple of Christ, a Jersey girl, a former nun, a teacher, and now a wife of 48 years, mother of two, grandmother of 5 boys and finally a baby girl...these are just some of the hats she wears or has worn. Her hat as teacher has seemed to be one she’s worn her entire adult life, ranging from teaching elementary school, homeschool, adult ESOL and GED language and writing. But along with all of these opportunities has been her favorite above all the rest: teaching women the Word of God in various ways, Precept Upon Precept and Bible Studies she’s developed by the grace and tutelage of God along the way. The heart of the message that she delights to share is that we are in union with the Living God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Currently you may find her on her devotional blog “A Branch in the Vine” where she shares several times a week and in her Bible Study/ devotional book The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension.