Name: Kim Hensley
Occupation: Worship Leader
Favorite verse: “14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
Why this verse is important to Kim:
To many of my friends, these verses are probably getting old because I talk about them so much. I can’t help it though. To me, these verses have been the picture of being in relationship with God.
I grew up going to church every week. I loved church honestly! When I was really little, my sisters and I would bring our Polly Pockets and sit on the floor and play during the sermon so it was kind of awesome for us. Plus there was this incredible older lady named Sue that would give us lollypops every week! Then when I got a little older I got to sing at church. Going to church had been fun, but participating in church, now that was awesome! I loved going to youth group and getting to sing almost every week. It was like this part of me that had always been there finally felt in the right place. And I know, you’re probably thinking it was just this performance thing and that I really wanted to be a pop star or something. Honestly though, I hated singing at talent shows or school plays or anything like that. Church was where I felt freedom to sing and know that God was the one that was getting all of the attention. That may sound cheesy but it’s really how I felt. If I sang well – great. If I sang poorly, well God was worshipped anyway so it wasn’t a waste of time. Nothing else mattered but Jesus and everyone singing his praise together. It was like heaven!
As grateful as I am for the way I was raised and the incredible gift I was given in knowing Jesus for so long in my life, no one’s life is perfect and no one’s family is perfect. This was something that I had a hard time accepting. I was a hardcore perfectionist. Not in the organized and neat way, but in the hiding flaws and shame kind of way. Everyday I was wearing guilt and shame; so tangible to me it weighed me down. I didn’t want people to know that I had flaws and pain. I thought that if I could just be happy and pleasant to everyone all the time, then I could fool them. And maybe if I could fool them, I could fool myself. The worst part of all of this though was how it affected my view of God. I loved God desperately and wanted to please him with all of my heart, but I felt I could never be good enough. I had come to the conclusion that God was disappointed in me. He had sent Jesus to die for the sins of humanity but that didn’t mean that he really liked me very much. I was just one that was included in the whole but not anyone special. This lie flooded my mind all through high school. I attempted to earn God’s love and so desperately wanted to be good enough so that he could be proud of me.
When I was 17, I was going through a Bible study on the book of Hebrews with some friends and these verses ended up changing everything for me. Now a little context for you, Hebrews is a book of the Bible that was written to the Hebrew people. These were people who had been raised in the Jewish tradition, following all of the laws of the Old Testament about how to dress, what to eat, and how to worship God. These were people that would go to the temple every year to bring a sacrifice for the High Priest to offer up to God in the Holy of Holies. This was how they maintained relationship with God. And all of these traditions were so deeply rooted in them. When Jesus comes, he dies as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and raises from the dead, defeating sin and death. Now this changes everything. We no longer need to make sacrifices in the temple because Jesus fulfilled that requirement. This is what the verses I mentioned earlier are getting to. No longer do we need a high priest to go before God for us, because we have been made right in God’s eyes through the sacrifice that Jesus made! Jesus is now acting as our High Priest in Heaven. Standing before God on our behalf.
I found myself feeling a lot like the Hebrew people. I had practiced religion but I misunderstood God’s character. I had assumed him to be all judgment, constantly disappointed in the fact that I couldn’t just be perfect. But what God desires is for us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace”. Wow. This blew my mind. All of my life I was approaching God’s throne with guilt and shame leaning into the lie that he could never love me. When in fact He sees me as covered in the perfection of Christ, wiped clean of sin I’ve done and sin I will do. He sees me as His daughter.
There is nothing I could have ever done to be good enough on my own. Trying to “earn” God’s love just sent me down a path of heartbreak in my weakness. A path that He never intended on me going down. It was as though Jesus saw me and picked me up, told me to stop trying and to see that he really liked me. I know it seems frivolous to use the word like and not love, but that was exactly what I needed. I needed to see that God actually liked me. He liked all of my quirks and emotions, all the pieces that are me. He made me. He saw what he made and said it was good. This has been so transformative for me. I no longer need to seek an identity in my job, my friends, relationships, my family, my talents, or even my shame. My identity is in the Creator. The one who knows me more than I even know myself.
Therefore, as a new creation in Christ, I approach the throne of grace with Confidence. The confidence of a God that is so good that he made a way for me to let go of my guilt and shame. The confidence that he made me with gifts and strengths that he can use for His glory. The confidence that He loves and desires each and every one of us to be in relationship with him. This is the freedom I have in Christ: to come to God when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am angry, when I feel lost, when I have questions, or when I just want to worship him. I can approach him as his beloved daughter, the one he loves. I am not perfect, not by my own strength. I will still have weaknesses in this world and my faith, unfortunately, wavers at times. But the best news of all is the Good News of Jesus Christ. That he said, “In this life you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
When we stop searching all over this world for our identity and look to God, we are now able to live in to the creation He made us to be. No longer distracted by the lies that flood us, we can be available to the calling he has on our lives. So, I plead with you, find refuge in God alone. We spend our entire lives searching for a love that is pure, strong and unwavering and this love is available to us all.