Let me paint a picture of an all-too-common cycle in my life: I stop working out as much as I think I should, then I start letting the healthy eating habits slide too. Now before you get the idea that I am a fitness machine, allow me to clarify. I like to work out three times each week, and I try to eat as much junk as healthy stuff. I have a fondness for sugar and salty crunchy things that come in air-puffed bags...doesn't really matter what it actually is hence the generic description. Anyway, back to the picture. I eventually slink back to the gym and tiptoe past the door to the locker room that has the scale in it, knowing full well that I need an accurate measure of where I'm at before real progress can be determined. I feel much better about standing on the scale when I know I've been being good. Can you relate?
I can see the same method being applied to my relationship with God. If I've been reading my Bible faithfully, being extra gracious to those around me, remembering to pray for the Pygmies and everybody else, I feel good about approaching the throne of God. Like I'm good enough to be there. Those days that I've been sniping at everyone, complaining, skipping the early morning devotions, and judging instead of praying, I feel like I need to hide from Him.
Yes, I know there is no place that I am actually hiding from Him. I know that before a word is on my lips He already knows it. And I know that I am saved by grace, not works, and that my good to-do list is nothing but works. Not that He doesn't want those same things for us, but play along for the sake of the illustration.
If you have been hiding out, waiting until you get things cleaned up before you try to hang out with Him, you should stop. Don't stop trying to clean up, but don't wait to hang out with Jesus. According to Eric Ludy, author of The Bravehearted Gospel, "Grace has become simply a gigantic hug from God and is no longer the muscle of God brought to earth to aid the weakness of men (women, too) and to give them strength."
Come to Jesus, today, and again tomorrow, and the next day, and the one after that. Let the grace of God make a difference in your life, not just make you feel better about your shortcomings. According to dictionary.com, grace is the influence or spirit of God (Holy Spirit) operating in humans (us) to regenerate or strengthen them. I have been writing about the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my life lately, enabling me to do things I don't feel like doing, and allowing me to dream dreams that I never would have considered. And I soon as I start to think it is all about me deserving these things, I am, once again, missing the point. It is about the grace of God allowing us to live in the grace of God. Think on that for a bit. You'll get it.