I imagine this massive hot air balloon. All who had previous knowledge of its existence jumped on as quickly as they could, knowing that it was their only escape from an impending doom soon to sweep the face of the earth. People ran as quickly as they could, gathering everything they could carry, all that was important to them. The hot air balloon lifted, far and high above all that was going on below. Some commented on how great it was to have a way of escape, a way to escape the doomed masses below. ‘If only they had known this balloon was here…maybe they could have been saved too…’
The above is the state of today’s church. And alright, I know. I talk a lot about how we as Christians could be different. But it’s because I believe that change is possible, even necessary if we are to accomplish God’s will in the earth. In the past, I have cringed at being labeled a Christian, as if I were scared to be identified with a bunch of quacks. I wasn’t ashamed of the gospel. Just all of its trumpeters. Today things are different. As I begin to care less about myself, and more about furthering the kingdom of God, I know the only way this is to happen is if Christians begin to reflect God’s love. He wouldn’t have put us all here if we weren’t capable. So what’s next?
Tonight, I attended a bible study. Nothing major, but the simplicity of our discussion was awesome. Righteousness was the topic, the definition of…how’s it’s obtained/received…and I began to realize a way in which many of us have gone wrong. Righteousness…a lifetime of blog discussion in it’s own right…cannot be earned. However, getting this across in a capitalistic society that is supposed to be based upon the reward of responsibility, hard work, and self-ambition, is no easy matter. People are natural earners. Our achievements are based upon performance, and our performance determines self worth. Not so in the kingdom of God. Nothing we do will ever be “good” enough to stand before God without shame or guilt. However, the Bible says that Christ’s righteousness is our righteousness. As righteous as He is before God, is how righteous I am before God.
How do I reconcile going to work everyday, being rewarded for hard work and quality results, with living a life that was given to me because someone paid the price thousands of years before? No I have to do things for the kingdom, I have to attend this, volunteer here, be at that next meeting, pass out tracks at that event….
Nothing will earn it. We busy ourselves about the kingdom, without ever accomplishing our purpose. You will be rewarded, or not, based upon your accomplishment of God’s will for/in your life. But your reward does not prove your righteousness. Thinking you can earn it, is just like the “president” of Iran saying the Holocaust didn’t happen…it’s ludicrous, shocking and apalling to all who know the truth. Your attempts lead to a false sense of righteousness, a “self-righteousness” if you will, and it gives way to the ugliest form of pride. This pride is seen by all…and in a sick twist of events, turns people off to the very thing you think you are projecting.
Let’s let go of our foolish pride. Let’s come down from our perch of “safety” and let everyone else have the opportunity to get on. It’s ok…you can come down now. You have nothing left to prove.
excerpt from “The Trial by Existence”
‘Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.’