August 31, 2011
I will never be perfect, and neither will you.
(Quick disclaimer: this blog is completely based on my own opinions and experiences. I do not wish to force anyone to agree with what I say, but simply felt the need to share my discovery.)
Legalism: strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code. (merriam-webster.com) Somehow we have created this idea of being saved through good works. I believed this for many years, and now God is revealing to me His true character.
I love to read, self-help books especially, and one day I came across a book that quickly grabbed my attention: “Mere Churchianity” by Michael Spencer. I am not finished with the book, but reading it has caused me to challenge the way I view religion.
Within the past few years I have struggled with the constant need to be accepted, and a great way to gain acceptance is to serve others. Serving is a very good thing, but I made it into my own manipulation process. “If I want to be noticed and accepted, I will help this person and do whatever it is they need done. Then they will let me in their circle.” This was a lie I told myself for such a long time. Soon I had so much on my plate that I burned myself out, and when I attempted to step down from certain things I felt guilty. There were times where I was even rejected because I had been giving for so long, it was expected of me.
“Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” –John 6:29
The craving to be perfect consumed me. I wanted to do all the right things to impress all the right people. This is what made me happy, I made it my god. This caused me to believe that God was someone who constantly graded me based on my performance of what I did, how often I did it and how well I was doing it. After much heartache and realizing how far from true that is, I found God, the right One.
It’s so weird because I have been a Christian my whole life. I faithfully attended church, and accepted Jesus as my Savior at a very young age. But at the age of 20, I finally found God, and now I can’t help but to share my recent discovery.
I now realize that Jesus died for the sinner. I will never be a perfect person that is why He was nailed to the cross. If perfection was attainable, He would not be necessary. There is no point in me ever trying to be perfect, because it will never happen and that is okay. The parable of the prodigal son is a great explanation of how God loves us even after we walk away from Him, but Michael Spencer breaks this parable down in his book and I like how he describes it:
“The Christian life isn’t a denial of the prodigal son parable, with the prodigal suddenly becoming a good boy and making his father proud. It is lived at the point where the empty-handed, thoroughly humbled son kneels before his father and has nothing to offer. The son can do nothing but be loved. He is empty and has only one recourse – receive the gift of all things and eternity.
The exhausting effort to be a good Christian denies Christ. If you insist on securing your own holiness and acceptability, you disqualify yourself from receiving anything from Jesus. He came to earth to save sinners, not good Christians.”
I recently finished reading the book of Hosea. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Old Testament book, it is an emotional story about a man who married a woman who acted as a prostitute. Though she kept walking away from him, he still loved and cared for her. The book describes this relationship as being similar to God and Israel. At the time, Israel continued to serve false gods and sinned against Him. God expresses his anger, but continues to love His people.
“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” –Hosea 10: 12
“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy.” –Hosea 11: 8&9
God loves me (and you) no matter my issues. He chose us before we even considered Him. He loves us even if we walk away.
I don’t have to do anything to become accepted, because I was chosen.