In the midst of busy weeks, filling out my planner like its no body's business, and forgetting to breathe along the way, I find it REAL easy to forget what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I feel like it can be so easy to get caught up in the motions like some pointless little robot when we neglect our ability to take a step back to relax and look at the big picture, if you will.
What am I doing here?
What is my purpose?
What is my heart's deepest desire?
What are my passions?
Who am I living for?
What is my motivation?
Whenever I first learned about Christianity, I thought that it was more like what we now call "legalism." I thought it was about believing Jesus died and rose again but treating it as a fact rather than an amazing, life changing truth. Through learning from others and my own messed up thinking, I mistakenly thought that if I didn't cuss, engage in underage drinking, have sex with my boyfriend, rebel from my parents.. you get the picture.. I was "clean." I was "worthy." If I read the Bible occasionally, I was good. If I volunteered at my church, I was good. If I could memorize John 3:16 and had the ability to recite it in front of my friends, I was fine.. I didn't need to hear more about Him. If you told me I did, in my defense I would most likely say, "Go find the homeless dude on the street - homeboy needs WAY more help than I do. He's the one getting money from people to buy alcohol."
Woah, woah, woah. I'm pretty sure that's not what Jesus said. At all. In fact, Jesus has quite a different viewpoint on this.
First off, we're ALL sinners. And we're never clean. Sucks to suck, right? But think about it: no matter HOW hard you try to be perfect, to respect your elders everyday, to love your neighbor (yes, this includes your enemies) as yourself, to never think "bad" thoughts, to never steal (even if you jack your friend's bracelet without asking.. guilty), you're never gonna be able to do it. Don't believe me? I challenge you to go for an hour without sinning.. then we'll talk.
"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
- Isaiah 53:6
So how do I cope with this truth?
That's when the legalistic crowd (including pretty much every other religion aside from Christianity) will most likely tell you to volunteer at your church, to work with the homeless, to work on cleaning yourself up.. I can tell you this doesn't work from past experience. If you don't believe me, I again challenge you to try it. Once again I will give you the option to contact me.
Jesus says.. go with it!
You're flawed. You realized it! We're all messed up. It's comforting that that statement included "we're all".. not so comforting once you realize the claim. Rather than go against it, I vote you go with it. Then you pray. Not some scripted prayer - pray what you feel. Pray what's truly in your heart. Ask God to move in your life. Give Him time - he'll do it. I'm not saying you should sit in your sin and chill.. I'm saying that you should look for passion in your life. Look for Christ.
"Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
- Matthew 9:13
That's the God I want to worship. Funny how Jesus tells us to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of other religions. He knows we are flawed - that we're doomed for failure on our own. No matter how many freaking self help books you read, no matter how much money you give to the homeless, no matter how many times you volunteer at your church, no matter how many Bible studies you join, if there's not an inward motivation - an inward feeling that is not of your own (can I get a Holy Spirit?), what's the point in even going through with the actions? Sounds a little bit like LEGALISM if you ask me.
I find it SO comforting that in order to experience God's presence in prayer, I don't have to freaking go through the innumerable Old Testament ways of cleansing myself.
Jesus made intercession between God and man so that this wouldn't have to happen.
SO.. next time you find yourself going through the motions, forgetting why you're here on Earth and your purpose in life, go back to Him. Do less; not more. Focus on the things you are truly passionate about and seek to glorify God in. Cut out the rest. Do it.
I challenge you.