Lord, I’ve done some messed-up stuff. There’s no way I can come into your presence.
If you’ve had thoughts like this, they’re partly true — but mostly wrong. The truth in them is that you can’t come into God’s presence based on your own merit. But the whole truth is this: God has chosen another basis by which you can enter into his presence.
Our God is perfectly righteous, absolutely pure in all his words, actions and motivations. We, on the other hand, are sinful. Scripture teaches that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). And because we’re not pure and righteous, we can’t be in God’s perfect presence. God knew this — and it broke his heart.
But a love as big as God’s doesn’t give up. And he didn’t. So in order for us to come close to him, his Son chose to pay the cost of our sin, satisfying the very real debt we owed.
Jesus died to bridge the gap. Now we can enter into God’s presence, not on our own merit but because we are literally covered by the righteousness of Jesus. “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). When God looks at us, he sees us clothed in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
When you feel like you can’t come into God’s presence because you aren’t good enough, acknowledge the truth in your thoughts. But also acknowledge the lie.
Acknowledge the truth that on your own merit, you aren’t righteous. But don’t forget the second half of the truth: In Jesus, you are righteous. Clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, you can freely enter into God’s presence.
When you sin, it’s a good thing to feel convicted. That means your heart is sensitive enough to recognize when something isn’t of God. But God doesn’t want you to live in shame. He wants you to come close to him, and he wants that so much that he paid an extremely high price for you to do so.
Taken from NIV The Great Rescue Bible