Take a second to think about this.
Would you still be a Christian if God stopped blessing you?
It’s a good question, but it’s probably a little too easy to answer. There are so many scriptures suggesting we can ask what we want from God and he’ll give it to us. Even Jesus seems to suggest this in the Sermon on The Mount. So, since there’s no real possibility that God will withhold his many blessings from his children, it’d be easy for us to say, “Sure, I’d still be a Christian.”
But I wonder how many Christians are Christians because it’s convenient to be so, in one way or another. That is, how many of us made a selfish decision to save ourselves from Hell, rather than a selfless decision to surrender our life and will to God’s will. In the end, did we decide to enter a relationship because of what it does for us, or because of what we want to do for Him?
Look, I realize that the salvation story is an exciting pitch. It certainly spells out promises that are significantly beneficial to the “survival” side of us. The deal is sweetened when we think of an all powerful God in our corner, helping life play out to our liking.
But when life starts happening. And the troubles start-a-coming. Our mouths tend to drop with bewilderment as we cast our eyes skyward, wondering whether this all-powerful God is sleeping on the job. In those moments, we’re not sure being a Christian is all its cracked up to be.
What Have You Done For Me Lately
Perhaps a better question could be asked. Has God already done enough for you to love Him, or have you put God on your performance plan?
Look, we base most our decisions on a very simple concept — What’s in it for me? We’re all looking for ways to satisfy our needs and wants. We want to avoid trouble, to get ahead, and to live comfortably and without resistance. To this end, it is easy to accept the gift of God’s grace. It’s a “win” decision. We get to go to Heaven (which, frankly, we don’t know much about… but it’s the better option than Hell), and we get to receive the many daily blessings from our heavenly father.
It’s honestly an offer you can’t refuse.
But somewhere along the line, we start to expect more from God. Somewhere, we get the idea that because we are Christians, we are exempt from the horrible effects of the sin swarming around us. And when those effects hit too close to home, we start to question everything. We start to question the Bible’s story. We start to wonder if God is good, or powerful, or if He even cares about us. Even more, we start to wonder whether there’s a God at all.
Suddenly Jesus and his great sacrifice for us loses value. Suddenly, all the good gifts and blessings from God are forgotten. It’s as if God has to continue to prove himself worthy of our time. Worthy of our attention. Worthy of our love.
In essence, we’ve got God on a performance plan. And if He doesn’t come through for us, he just may get fired.
How much is enough?
Something is off about the idea of the God of the universe being on a performance plan. But I think more people have him in one than are willing to admit it. You may have him on one and not even be aware of it.
The single greatest event in history is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this single event, God took care of our greatest need (and probably the only need that REALLY matters). I can’t help but think that such an act of sacrifice should be enough. I can’t help but think that, should God decide to do nothing else for you and for me, that He’s done enough already.
So, instead of walking into a relationship with Christ with an eye toward personal gain, we are freed to enter in with a heart of confession, repentance, and most importantly, sacrifice. We can approach our relationship with God with the same heart a spouse has when entering into marriage. A spouse who truly loves his betrothed is not entering into the relationship looking for what they will gain. They are ready to give their life to the one they love. They are ready to sacrifice their life, desires and dreams, for that of the one they love.
Sacrifice. It’s the epitome of love. It’s the high standard that Jesus set for us. When we enter into a relationship with God, we must be careful to not view God like the rich uncle with whom we have no real relationship outside what he can give us. If that is the way we define Christianity, then God will appear to fail you. But if you enter in with a heart of selflessness and sacrifice, when trouble comes you can have the “peace that passes understanding” that the Bible promises. The Bible says that when we lose our life, we’ll find it. This is the mystery behind this great statement.
So, take God off the performance plan and stop asking what He can do for you. God doesn’t owe you happiness, wealth, or anything you may desire. Instead, lay your life down for Him. He’s worthy of your love already, even he doesn’t do anything else.
Do you have God on a performance plan?
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