Alex has this way of helping me get through school. When we sit down and talk, she will help help me make a checklist for all that I need to get done for the week, just so I don’t fall behind. I love that she does this. But what happens if I miss something on this check list?
For example, one thing on my check list is a book review for my Service Theology class coming up soon. If I don’t do this, I will lose 10% of my grade. It is a big deal. I don’t complete what is on my list, and I take the consequences.
We can take our thoughts of this to our lives as Christians.
I was sitting in my buddy’s apartment last night talking theology, and he mentioned how much people in the church pressure each other. Have you ever heard the follow questions:
Did you go to church this week? How are you doing on your devotionals? Did you pray at least 3 times today? How about before each meal? Did you read the bible today, or at least 10 times this week? Are you keeping track? Are you good enough? Is your Christian checklist done?
I haven’t been a Christian for no more than 6 years, but I always had a thought about how it went. If you are good, you go to heaven, if you are bad, you go to hell. If you pray a lot, then God will give you what you want, if you don’t pray, then you become homeless (not trying to be offensive, I seriously thought that when I was little) and after you do what all good Christian people do, then you have earned your Christianity.
Not even close!
Guess what, God doesn’t think less of you because you decided to sleep in. Let say, that you didn’t go to church, but instead took time out of your life to go hammock and spend time just absorbing yourself in his beautiful creation, and admiring it. Does that mean you are a bad person for skipping church?
Or say: Instead of going to a corporate worship service every Sunday of your life (like it says in the bible, right?) you decide to take that single mother that her husband just left her out to coffee to encourage her, and share God’s love through your words. Or you go pray for people in the hospital, or you just take a day to simply rest.
Let me say this: Making, completing, or having a “Christian checklist” doesn’t make you a good Christian. Because there is no such thing as a “Good Christian.”
There is literally nothing more you can do to earn your place in the kingdom of God than accepting Christ as your savior. YOU CAN NOT EARN YOUR SALVATION, YOU ASK FOR IT! . The verse commonly referenced is Romans 3:23 “For all have fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” The gift of Jesus is a free gift for all who ask for it!
God wants to be apart of your life, he really does. He desires nothing more than a relationship with you. But if you are doing it as apart of a checklist to complete, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Do it because you want to. Do it because you want to feel closer to God. Do it because your heart desires it, not because we feel like our checklist is a priority. Do it because you want to, not because you feel you have too.
If we have to complete our checklists, and make sure we are doing these things to earn God’s approval, what is the point of putting Jesus on the cross? He already did the work, all we have to do is follow him. All of the other world’s religions, you have to do all this work to get to nirvana, or live justly, or sacrifice animals for our families.
But that old phrase says: Religion says do, Jesus said done.
After playing at a church in Grand Rapids, mind you this is the kind of church with a big flashy stage and light show,I was stopped after a service by a family who wanted to encourage me about how the worship helped them. Their little boy looked up at me and asked if I was famous (cute, I know). I told him I wasn’t, and we parted ways. It got me really thinking. I started thinking about how what he said tied in with what the pastor spoke on that morning, that while I, or anybody else there are not famous, we are expensive. We are all expensive.
We are expensive because we were bought at a price, a high price, and his name is Jesus. He loved us so much that he took everything that we had to do, and he did it all for us. We literally have to do nothing else to earn our salvation. He finished it.
He died on the cross for our sins, he even said with his dying breath after taking the weight of our sins, “It is finished.”
So, how do we live as Christians? Simple; follow the two greatest commandments:
Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself.