I posted a few months ago several times on the idea that we don’t have to earn anything from God. We can’t. We aren’t strong enough or good enough to do it. Recognizing this, Christ came to earn it for us. And that brings up a huge mess of stuff such as the different theories of atonement and whether or not everyone is eventually saved no matter what they do in this life. But I want to leave those questions and discussions for other days and focus on the earning.
This emphasis on Lent at Wheatland has been very interesting to me since I have never done it before (other than get the ashes when I was in Catholic school and that was mainly just because it was a novelty to me). Pastor Paul talked last week about Jesus predicting his death and understanding what he was about to face. I think his understanding of what he was about to face shows in his behavior in the temple. While I believe he was in complete control of himself, I also believe that he felt pressed and that he was wild-eyed and that he was in a way preparing himself for the battle that lay ahead of him. Paul went on to talk about how something has to die in order to be resurrected, how hard times and struggles have to be had before new life and peace can come. I am in the middle of those hard times right now and am eager for the new life. Maybe I will post on that sometime too but not here.
As I read the passages that we discuss at Wheatland each week, I find myself reading on past where we stop for the teaching time. One of those times when I was reading ahead I noticed a very peculiar little verse. It is John 6:29, and I like the way my New Living Translation says it. Jesus has just fed the 5,000 and walked on water. People who had witnessed those events stayed around all night for another chance to see and talk to Christ. The next day they searched for and found him and asked all sorts of questions. Somebody pipes up and says that he wants to perform God’s works too. Jesus responds with verse 29, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
I see so many people trying to earn something from God, and I used to be in that group. I used to be very deep into that group. I didn’t understand that God loved me. I didn’t understand what grace was all about. I was trying to jump through all the hoops to hope to make it into the club. But now I just want to relate to him the way he wants me to relate to him, and what I think what he wants is for me to quit trying and doing and just know him. That feels peaceful to my troubled soul.