THE WORLD works by a rewards system. You do something worthwhile, and you get a prize. This makes sense. It’s logical and has been programmed into us since prehistoric times.
What did early humans do when they were hungry? They went out, killed an animal and ate it.
You work for your reward. It’s the law of the jungle.
But what about when your spirit hungers? When your soul thirsts? You should seek God, right?
Many times though, we still fall back on the old reward system. So you might think, “Well, if I’m going to God, I better clean up my act first.”
Then you try to do better. You try to be good, and sooner or later you fail. Then you think, “Well, I can’t go to God since I’m too dirty. I’m ashamed.”
Even worse is when we think we’re so good that we don’t need God or we are entitled to his blessings.
This is all faith backwards.
All good things come from God. I have nothing to offer him.
If I want to get clean or if I thirst, I go to the Living Water. If I am hungry, I eat the Bread of Life. If I want to be good, I go to the Only One that is good.
Just being in contact with him makes me better. I don’t have to do anything except give him room to work.
This turns the reward system on its head. You might be thinking it’s obvious, but these two attitudes (I’m too bad or I’m too good) come up again and again to sabotage our spiritual journey.
We put similar chokeholds on others. We mercilessly condemn others or we give individuals credit for their goodness. We condemn and praise people without considering God’s impact at all.
There once was a man though who did do the work.
His faith was straight and sure. His goodness came from God, and he was God.
He hoisted the cross for me and you. He let down his guard to give his life for all humankind. And for this he was given a great reward.
Resurrected, he sits exalted at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus Christ is truly worthy of all worship and praise.
So remember, only the Lord is good. Only he gives life. We simply do not exist without him. And the closer we get to him, the more we receive of his goodness and grace.
So behold the glorious struggle.
Yes, there is a great reward, but the Lord does the heavy lifting.
Go to his presence.
Let down your guard.
Open the door to your heart.
Lower your defenses.
Lay aside the excuses and appearances.
You don’t need any of that here.
The Lord asks none of that from you.
The only requirement is an open, sincere heart — a heart that yearns for healing and freedom.
When you seek him you get more.
So get familiar. Get closer.
Enter the sweet, spacious pastures of his mercy.
And yes, afterwards you will do great things.
You will be centered, faithful, and solid.
You will be an agent of blessings and healing.
As you have been cleansed and fed, your interior life is solid and robust.
And even though you recognize your smallness and fragility,
you know you are sustained by the Creator of the universe,
by Almighty God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.John 1:1-5
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