Something that is usual, customary, or standard, especially a behaviour or course of action. You have likely heard it spoken a hundred times, “God is love” or “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” When we sin, mess up, or fail to do something we know we should have done, we feel guilt and shame and are usually disappointed in ourselves. Some of us may turn and blame another, get overly harsh with ourselves or even indirectly put the blame back on God.
When I recently caught one of my children in a lie about something they clearly did there was the feeling of anger over their obvious lie, their attempt to cover it up and even trying to get out of it. I was standing at a crossroad, a crossroad that many of us face almost everyday. I was standing again in the garden that Adam and Eve stood in before the tree. Would I choose to trust God, believing that he knows best and obey him? Would I now put the teachings of Jesus into practice or do what is best in my own eyes and respond overly harsh to my child over the fact that they did wrong and deliberately tried to cover it up? A thought came to my mind… “how has God, my heavenly Father, treated me time and time again when I have blown it, even sinning intentionally?” This is where thinking of God’s default mode can comfort and encourage. What is God’s behaviour or course of action that is usual, customary or standard for him? There are many places in the Scriptures that reveal the heart of our God. One place is in Luke 15:11-24. The story is familiar and repeated and yet the image of a father embracing his child who has sinned is very powerful. In the other two parables before this one there is a call to rejoice and have joy over the lostness of sinners who returns/repents toward God. When John says that “God is love” he isn’t saying that God loves but that he IS love. His ‘default’, his usual custom, standard or behaviour towards us is as 1 Corinthians 13 records, “patient, kind…not rude, not self-serving, not easily angered or resentful…(he) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (His) love never ends.”
We don’t have to “get it right perfectly” before God will love us or accept us. He already has done everything to make us blameless, perfect and acceptable through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29