This week is officially labeled “Holy Week”, so obviously I have been doing some reflecting on the significance of what that means. Honestly, it is something I never quite appreciated in my past life, and I am repentive for that oversight because as someone who is a believer that is a huge miss!
Being raised in a legalistic religious system I always put emphasis on my actions in response to my salvation. I felt like the more I did, the harder I worked, the holier I made myself I could earn God’s love and grace. By having this attitude, things felt like more of a to do list than a response of gratefulness. I read my Bible in order to please God. I made sure my skirt was at my knees in order to make Jesus happy with me. I attended every church service and ensured all of my talents were being used as often as possible. I tithed at least ten percent of my income to be sure God wouldn’t curse my other ninety percent. I did all of these things and more in order to prove myself holy enough to deserve God’s grace and gift of salvation. And therein lies the problem.
Salvation is a gift.
Our righteousness is as filthy rags the Bible says. So, while all these things are well and good, by working so hard in an effort to make God notice us, we are forgetting one major piece of the equation. The cross.
How arrogant and prideful of me to even begin to think anything I could do could make him love me even more than he already did over 2000 years ago! Our Heavenly Father, sent his one and only Son to earth, specifically to suffer the most gruesome death for me. Jesus suffered and died before I was even thought of and my sins were washed away by his blood before I even committed them! Who am I to assume anything I can do with my human limitations even comes close to the sacrifice Jesus already has made for me! I don’t have to try and please God myself! Jesus already did that for me on the cross! And in doing so, made my salvation a free gift!
You wouldn’t charge your children for their birthday presents! You wouldn’t make them labor for them! Why? Because they are gifts you want to give to them simply because you love them so!
I know I can’t even begin to fathom the amount of love God has for me, so I certainly don’t want to offend him by my actions implying His gift of love wasn’t quite enough; His Son’s death wasn’t enough for me, so I think I need to do even more to add to His sacrifice! What more could I do?! How could I ever possibly contribute anything to such a great and selfless feat?
I want to live an overcoming life, so I want my actions to assist in drawing closer to God. But by understanding the implications the cross has on my life, I do things in response to His love and mercy, not in order to please him, but because I am thankful and want to be more like the One who loves the world so much.
Happy Holy Week!