by Barbara Latta
Once we make the decision to give our lives to Christ a new life begins (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We know we have been saved from sin but then
we receive well-meaning advice from older Christians.
|Church attendance is important|
but won't earn God's favor.
You must go to church regularly.
You need to read your Bible every day.
Reading the Bible in the morning is best.
Reading the Bible at night is best because you need God on your mind before your sleep.
Give an offering every Sunday.
Examine yourself all the time in case you sinned.
Participate in the church.
God won’t fellowship with you if you have sinned so you must confess all the time.
Study your Sunday School lesson.
Quit all your bad habits.
The list could go on and on and can be confusing to a new Christian but trying to keep this list will not earn brownie points with God. Nothing will affect our relationship with God unless we let it. God does not relate to us on what we do and He doesn’t turn away from us when we don’t do what is right. But if we let our conscience condemn us, we can feel separated from Him because we feel unworthy to be in His presence. He is not the one who leaves, we are the ones who turn away.
I remember the Sunday School envelopes I would fill out as a child. Scores were applied to achievements such as attendance, studying the Sunday School lesson and attending worship. When I could check every box and made 100% I swelled with pride and thought surely God must be looking down from heaven with a smile on his face and putting a gold star next to my name on his roster. When I found out I didn’t earn God’s love and acceptance by what I do, I was set free from condemnation and guilt.
The hardest thing for a Christian to do is rest. We struggle to let go of works and simply accept grace.
Grace is God’s gift. No strings attached (Ephesians 2:8-9). The only requirement is to
receive the gift. If we were in God’s favor because of reading the Bible, giving an offering or
quitting bad habits, then our salvation would be based on us instead of Jesus. The
good things we do benefit us and are a fruit
of knowing God but are not how we
|God's gift of grace has no strings attached.|
Jesus paid the price. A very costly price. When we try to add to that sacrifice by our works we are saying Jesus didn’t do enough and we have to help Him out.
Resting in Him requires labor but a different kind of labor than our works tries to bring (Hebrews 4:9-10). We have to work to rest because most of our life on earth is performance based. Our humanity requires us to work at acceptance from employers, teachers and sometimes friends. We then approach God in the same way expecting to only receive favor from Him if we have been good enough.
If you are struggling to earn God’s favor, rest in His grace and know you are accepted.
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