Approaching God with Confidence
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15–16
Many mornings right around 5 a.m., our cat Oreo meows loudly for her breakfast. She has decided that she does not like the stale cat food in her bowl; she wants new food, fresh from the box! For some unfathomable reason, I, the only person in the family who is regularly annoyed by our cat, am also the only one who ever hears our cat.
So around 5:01 I yank open our bedroom door, lurch out in an attempt at menace, catch Oreo’s gaze with an angry bloodshot stare from underneath my alarming shock of morning Einstein hair, then make loud mewling noises that I sincerely hope sound to her like cat curses. I do all this with the kind of humorless intensity found only in someone awakened from a sound sleep. At 5:02 she sees me, arches her back, rockets up the stairs, and shoots through the cat door to safety in the garage. And then I go back to bed fuming. This happens every day.
When I next see Oreo I know what will happen: She will slink away from me, apparently embarrassed of her daily offense, or afraid of what I might do to her — or both (either way I’m sort of OK with it). It’s incredible: She crawls around in something approximating guilt and fear every morning, yet with each new day she yields to the temptation again. Sound like someone you know?
Ever feel like God’s going, “Not again!” after you fall? Ever feel like you don’t dare come to Him in repentance because you fear what He’ll do to you? Ever worry He’ll be as crazily offended as I am when the cat awakens me from a sound sleep?
Bryan Chapell tells the story of a pastor’s daughter who brought home a teddy bear made of chocolate from school. The next day the girl’s mother caught her three-year-old son chomping down his sister’s bear. The boy backed against the wall like a cornered criminal, sobbing his confession with telltale chocolate stains all over his mouth and hands. His Mom told him that, despite all his tears, he would still have to tell his sister what he had done when she got home from school that day.
That afternoon was torture for the little boy as with each passing minute he wondered how his sister would react. Finally she walked in. He ran to her as the dam of his guilt burst out in tears of confession. He cried, “Sally, I am SO SORRY I ate your teddy bear!!”
I’m glad that his sister was always looking for a way to love her little brother. She took him in his arms, kissed him, and said, “It’s okay, Johnny, I will love you forever and always.” Though he was still crying, the little boy began to giggle. He was still crying from shame, yet at the same time he began laughing for joy.
What a great picture of grace. When I see how serious my sin is, I’m broken to the point that I cry tears of grief. But I don’t need to be afraid of God! When I realize God says, “I will love you forever and always” and reaches down and in compassion embraces me, I cry tears of joy.
I love today’s verse from Hebrews 4:16. It means that even when you fall, you can approach God’s very throne — which the writer calls “the throne of grace” — with confidence because you know you will find mercy and grace to help you in your time of need!
As Dean Merrill puts it, “The good news to those who have made a major mistake in their lives is this: It’s okay to run to your Father.”
When you fall, do you slink around in fear and remorse, or do you approach the throne of grace with confidence?
Why would God want us to know we can come to His throne with confidence, instead of slinking around in fear and guilt?
With confidence today, approach the throne of grace, knowing you will receive mercy and grace to help you, and tell God what you need.