I have been under some wonderful, biblical teaching for the past 20+ years and it became real again to me this last week.
I was driving to pick up a friend for an evening out and I was reviewing my day while alone in the car. It wasn't pretty. My sin was before me and I realized just how wrongly I had responded in the face of the opportunities that God had put before me. As it often does, the thought came to me, "What if this was the moment that I was ushered into the presence of the Holy God?" Now, some years ago, that thought would have filled me with shame and fear. "NO! Not now! Not on the heels of THIS day! Let me try again . . . I'll do better!"
But NOW, the realization that I have no righteousness of my own is a truth that both causes me to cry out in desperation as well as to rejoice in the hope that God Himself has provided me a righteousness found only in the perfect life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And so when the thought came of standing before Him after the day I'd just had . .. .I was filled with thoughts, not of fear and shame, but of relief and joy and awe and thankfulness (yes, some soberness too, but not shame or fear connected with condemnation).
Now the teaching I've been under has been great and has greatly influenced the renewing of my mind. However, one thing GREATLY stands out among the rest . . . the life and testimony of my absolutely wonderful husband. From the very beginning . . . from the very beginning, I have been in awe of God's goodness to me through Earl. I have felt loved by him as by no one else. I have been unconditionally loved by him as he has been by the Father. He has an incredible way of making me feel delighted in and cherished even after what for me has felt like a "day of defeat" in light of the battle to be fought with my flesh. He listens to me, He speaks the truth to me and laughs with me when I try to argue against the counsel of Scripture (knowing it's a losing argument). I have never been afraid of him. I have felt remorse and disappointment in myself and have cried buckets of tears of repentance and frustration and he has walked through it with me every time. Knowing what that kind of love is like has taught me by experience that I do not need to fear my heavenly Father, but can run to Him expecting and receiving His loving and comforting embrace and the strengthening of His counsel and Spirit.
Oh, I certainly long to hear "Well done, thy good and faithful servant!" and I want my reward to be as much as there is to be had . . . but alas, the truth is that I have no righteousness of my own . . . but thanks be to God, Who always leads me in triumph through Jesus and Who has promised to perfect the work He's begun and to present me spotless and blameless. Amazing!! I will trust Him . . . even on my worst of days!