Jesus met me as a Pharisee

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Guest Post by: Sheryl Aeschliman

My childhood was great. No major life traumas. I survived the typical teenage stuff without any epic scars, or so I thought. So what’s the problem? You see, my fallen sinful heart chose to seek out what it longed for. Acceptance. Acceptance with others and acceptance with God based on my own merit instead of grace. Yeah, it got ugly.

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You see, I was a good girl on the outside. I went to church, sang in the choir, attended youth group and I had just enough of God to obtain fire insurance, and that was about it. In the midst of all of the growing pains, my belief system morphed into thinking that God’s love for me was based on behavior rather than Jesus.

Which meant that as long as I didn’t get caught, or do anything too stupid, that God and I were just fine and dandy. Hypocrisy was my middle name, and as you can imagine that made for some poor choices. Jesus met me there and saved me, which should be a hooray kind of moment, right? It was, except my heart still ached for acceptance based on something else other than free grace. I felt like I had to make up for all the wrongs I had done. In my quest to prove that I was worthy of God’s love, I worked even harder trying to be a good girl. A better girl. A girl that finally got it right this time. I loved Jesus with all my heart, but I didn’t understand the gospel at all.

Fast forward to marriage, kids and whitewashing the outside of my cup. Enter the nasty Pharisee in me. It swayed me into thinking that I needed to be a perfect Proverbs 31 kind of gal. Be more humble, more modest, more quiet in spirit, more spiritual! I needed perfect homeschooled kids, a perfect marriage, a perfect garden, and (for crying out loud) perfect homemade bread because I wanted to be the perfect homemaker. It translated into conservative clothes, conservative hair, no make up etc…and I was perfectly miserable! My life had no grace for others and no grace for myself. I became a frustrated, angry, defensive, self righteous slave to the idol of perfectionism. I loved Jesus, read my Bible everyday and still didn’t understand the Gospel. 

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God walked me to the end of that awful road. In His infinite mercy and love for me, God tore down every single idol. It was brutal!! Tragedy, pain and tears were the tools that my Great Physician skillfully used to ultimately heal me. Over several agonizing years, God peeled away the layers of self worship, carnal religious trappings and pride. He showed me security, total surrender, and lavish grace at the foot of His cross! When I saw Jesus for who He was, I saw the depth of my depravity, and I died. Acceptance.

Jesus met me as a Pharisee, and set this captive free to fully live in Him!


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About the author: 

Sheryl is a mom, farmer's wife and Jesus lover above all else! As an author, teacher, mentor and leader in women's ministry, she draws from over 20 years of experience in helping women of all ages discover Biblical truth. Her calling and passion to equip Christian women led her to create Simply Scripture as a platform to help women dive into the Bible with passion and purpose. Sheryl teaches online Bible studies designed to help women simply and confidently engage Scripture and to step into the grace that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Website: Simply Scripture

Facebook: Finding Life in Christ


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