Monday, June 8, 2015


    Have you ever had the feeling that you will never measure up, never be righteous enough, never be good enough? Have you ever had the idea stuck in your head, despite your resistance, that God is waiting on the other side of the huge pile of your sin for you to get it all worked out before He will love and accept you? Have you ever had the notion engrained in your mind that you will never be able to do enough?

    Well, you're right. You will never do enough. You will never measure up. You will never be the perfect sibling, the perfect friend, the perfect parent. You can never be the perfect person, on your own.

    But that is where the love and grace of God enter the picture. We do not have to measure up, because Christ has made us perfect. We do not have to be righteous enough, but Christ has already made us so. We do not have to work through our sin on our own, because Christ already has.

    We are the ragamuffins of this world, the imperfect humans of this world who fall, and fall again, rising only to fall again. We are the living examples of Romans 7, repeated over and over again. We are the ones who struggle, who are tempted and tried, who fail and fall. We are the weak, the tempted, and struggling. And we are the recipients of the grace and love of a beautiful and wild Savior.

    Brennan Manning writes in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, "'But how?' we ask. Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' There they are. There *we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith. My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”

    The beauty of the Christian life is not that I now live the victorious Christian life, lived abundantly, perfectly, and rapturously all the time. Rather, the beauty is found in an all-sufficient Savior who shows His sufficiency not when I am strongest, but when I am weakest. When my self-sufficiency is gone, then can Christ's shine through me.

    Our absolute greatest realization as we look at our Christian lives, dotted sometimes with past sin, temptation, and pain is that I am loved by God, and accepted through the gift of Jesus Christ. I am accepted. I have been made right with God. Justified. Redeemed. Everything that I am, better or worse, is simply a side note to the fact that I am accepted by God. No longer is my defining characteristic my sin, my shame, my failure but instead my status: a child of the living God, loved, accepted, and covered.

    I want us to take a moment and think about that word "accepted". It's a powerful word. How often do we hear of teens doing stupid things because they want to be accepted? But what does it mean?

    Does it not mean to be loved, cherished, cared for, despite whatever baggage and problems you may carry? To be accepted is not to be dutifully loved but to be the recipient of grace, love despite the problems, the pain, the baggage, the shame. Accepted for who you are, not who you will be or have the potential to become. Accepted as a child of God, a weak, sometimes wandering child, but a child of God. Accepted as one who is precious in the eyes of God. Accepted. Loved. Cherished. Adopted.

    "“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
                                                                          -Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel


  1. I think you know how much I needed this, but I'll just say it - I NEED this. Thank you. You're 100% right, and I'm gradually starting to *finally* grasp this concept.

    1. I still struggle sometimes with grasping it. It's kind of a radical concept! But I think it's also the most freeing realization in all Christianity.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! This is something that I have struggled with a lot in the passed and still do, yet more recently God has been graciously working in me and showing me just how big and great his love and grace is. Thank you for the reminder!
    Just out of curiosity, does the "Ragamuffin Gospel" have anything to do with that movie that came out fairly recently called "Ragamuffin" about the Christian musician named Rich Mullins? Or you may have never even heard of that movie, but anyway its a great movie.

    1. It's a concept that even if we grasp it once, we will probably still struggle with our whole lives, just because of how big and how grand it really is!

      Yes, I've watched the movie. Rich Mullins used this word a lot, partly because Brennan Manning (author of "The Ragamuffin Gospel") was Mullins mentor. Manning's book and teachings on this idea were what motivated Mullins to name his band "The Ragamuffin Band". So, yes, the movie "Ragamuffin" is really named for the book because of the deep impact it had on Rich.

    2. Ok, gotcha! I thought they were connected some how. Thanks for explaining the connection. ;)
      Yeah, so true! I sometimes thinking I am finally grasping something about God, only to have to be reminded of it all over again the next day.