Chasing “a little bit better”, Freedom in Restoration

Oh goodness. The title for this last week of study just gets right to the heart of it, doesn’t it?

Chasing “a little bit better”…

How often do I reach for a little bit better when God offers me life abundant?

Why do I do it? Why do I eat the crumbs that fall from the table, taking in a little measly morsel of grace when I go to church, and another measly morsel when I converse with a friend, another measly morsel when I finally, finally apologize after lashing out at my husband?

I refuse isolation in this. I know it’s not just me. So many of us are yoked to chasing just a tiny bit better – feeling better, talking better, acting better-

when God wants restoration for us, instead of better.

Galatians 6:1 ties Galatians 5 and 6 together. Read Galatians 5:22-6:2 as one continuous passage:

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

The fruit of the Spirit may as well be Christ living in me to reach out to you and vice versa.

Can you imagine? God does not tell us to reach out to all the put-together people, all the people who live well and walk well in the faith. He tells us, through Paul here, to reach our hand in and offer help to the hurting, to call out sin where it lives, in you and in me, to be honest, when it’s hard and it hurts, but to bear it together.

Sharing our sin, our disgrace openly, within true community and actual care, is I believe the most powerful weapon we have to combat Satan in our current cultural context.

Our culture says, “Shame on you.”

Christ says, “I restore.”

Our culture says, “You can do better.”

Christ says, “I did it all.”

Our culture says, “Don’t let them see your darkness.”

Christ says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light.”

We bring that light to each other. We carry the Word out and into a world so deeply in need, chasing just a tiny bit better and losing.

The oft left unquoted Word from John 17:15 says,

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 

It’s a prayer from Christ Himself over each one of us. We’re quick to quote the next verse:

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

A little bit better feels a lot like God letting us keep our junk to ourselves, keeping us from humiliation, keeping us from the embarrassing stain of our own sin, but He has a bolder, bigger plan:

Reveal it, so I can heal it.

(Ok, I didn’t intend for that to rhyme. 😉 )

Christ prayed for us to remain in the world because He knows that a little bit better doesn’t heal – it only patches. Revealing our pain and struggle, revealing where we have fallen short and mess it all up – that not only leads to our restoration, but it also begins the process of restoration for another.

Can we do it? Can we share some secret shame, so that another can find some bright and glorious restoration?

We can’t cast our pearls before swine. We can’t be transparent where there is no relationship, we don’t bare the burden of sin, the weight of sin with people who would take it and trash it underfoot, but in relationship it’s worth the risk.

Paul states in Galatians 6:1 “watch yourselves…” We don’t want to be tempted and thrown into someone else’s drama of sin, but he doesn’t tell us not to risk it. Christ’s solution to this in John 17 is the Word. If we are going to help another through their shame of sin, we bring the Word in genuine care and concern and we wrap it in our own humility of sin and the restoration we have received from Christ Jesus.

It’s so much better than a little bit better…

It’s life together.

It’s Redemption before our eyes.

It’s Him at work in you and me, and between you and me.

It’s remarkable grace.

Can we be done chasing a little bit better…together? I’ll share with you and you share with me. We’ll bear the weight of sin together, confess together, proclaim forgiveness over one another and experience the fresh and utterly weightless mercy of our Savior…together.

#lifetogether – Connect and send someone this week’s free downloadable Dear 52 card or order the whole set here

Discussion questions:

When have you gotten burnt in a “relationship” that wasn’t as solid as you thought?

How does Christ’s restoration differ from making things a little bit better?

What in your life right now would you like a little bit better, that we could pray with you for restoration instead?

Announcing I Love My Shepherd Advent

It’s time to announce I Love My Shepherd Advent 2017!

Don’t worry, it doesn’t start until December 1st. We still have time for all the Fall loveliness. But if you’re thinking ahead to twinkling lights and “Silent Night,” we’d love to celebrate the birth of our Savior with you this year.
We’ve teamed up again with author Sarah Baughman of Grafted Heart to bring you short, sweet, and beautiful reminders each day, during one of our favorite seasons.

What’s included?

*super short and manageable posts each day (2-3 sentences each)

*an image each day to share or print for your home (use by yourself, with your church, a group of friends, or for family devotions)

*the same encouragement you would expect from us 😉

What’s the theme?


Getting in the Word, each day, every day- that’s the goal.

Invite a friend. Wonder at His Love. Proclaim His Great Name.

How do I sign up?

Look for more information, downloadables, and sign up coming soon!

YA Bonus – Someone gave something up for your freedom

We really want everything to be OK.

We want to use a thumbs up emoji for life itself.

Good to go!

We want to look around us at our family and friends and say good to go there to.

As we grow in our faith and understanding, our eyes open a bit further though and good to go just isn’t happening for the most part.

We look inside of us and around us and we see struggle. We see addiction. We see loneliness, fear, and heartache. We see other religions, different ways of finding meaning, and calls to action that open lots of questions we never knew we had:

What about abortion?

What about sexual identity?

What about Buddhism, Islam, or all those other -isms?

Is Heaven the real deal, and perhaps the bottom line- is Hell?

Good to go is good for most days, but we crave more. We want to know more, seek more, and understand more.

God gives us answers in the Bible, it’s Truth written out with blood stained ink by the prophets and early Apostles of the Church.

People died for this Truth. But people die for other truths, so which truth is actually…well…Truth?

In today’s podcast we’ll examine Truth with a capital T and it’s connection to sacrifice. We’ll wrestle with tough questions with no easy answers and one easy answer all at the same time.

Find the podcast here. Share your thoughts in the comments. Get the conversation going.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6