By way of application, Pastor Lyro brought up a sore spot in my spiritual life. I think it is a common occurrence among Christians. It is our default way of thinking about our relationship with a pure and holy God. We are not naturally inclined to act differently. That is not an excuse, it is reality.
By default, we are more inclined to “feel good” about our relationship with God – or perhaps I should say our standing with God – based on what we have done. We feel ok if we’ve been reading our Bible, praying, studying and not doing “bad things.” The moment we stumble – exactly 3 seconds after we start feeling good – we feel bad. It’s a vicious cycle, a lot like congressional elections. As Pastor Lyro put it, we go about our days with a low level sense of guilt on our consciences because we haven’t been “good enough” for God.
Confession time: I struggle with this. I think a lot of us do to. Then again, maybe I’m saying that to make myself feel better.
As I said, this is our default position. We think we can do a certain amount of good and then and only then, God will be pleased with us. This is wrong. God is not pleased with us because of what we do or do not do. He is pleased with us because of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we believe anything other than that, we have a serious problem. The problem of sin. No amount of good can overcome that, but that is exactly how we act. We pretend that because we did 1, 2, and 3, and refrained from x, y, and z, that God smiles upon us again. This isn’t the way it works. God does not get happy one day because we read our Bible but angry the next because we didn’t.
The take away for me is that I need to repent of gauging my standing with God by the amount of reading and prayer and good works I’ve done or not done. To put it in even simpler terms, I need to repent of doubting the love of God.
Romans 5:6-11 is a very good passage to meditate on in the battle against this temptation:
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
While I do not have time (nor the bravery…or maybe in my case, foolishness) to unpack this, the key seems to be “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If Christ died for us while we hated him, doesn’t that tell us a whole lot about his disposition toward us, especially now that we are saved by him?
And yet we doubt. I doubt. Maybe no one else does. Maybe everyone does. The point is, we need to grab onto this and other Scriptures, study and meditate on them and get them worked into the fabric of our souls so we cease all doubting. Then we will have real comfort. And it’s much better comfort than our sin-tainted works can give us.