Last fall I watched, actually helped in, a cycling race here in Frankfort. I found that due to my bulk I would have a hard time competing against these fit folk.
So, I have been on a journey of losing weight that would allow me to go faster and hopefully compete or to at least make a good showing of it. After losing weight and trimming up I decided to go south and enter a bicycle race. It was a 50 and older race, so I thought I might stand a chance. I did far better than I expected seeing that Kentucky is still quite cold, which limited my training time. I noticed that on the other side of the “finish line” all the riders were just standing around by their bikes talking, so I rode past them about another mile and declared myself the winner!
You say, “Um Steve, you seem to be missing something in your thinking process, like your brain!”
Many of us are doing the same thing with God. We read our Bibles, pray, try to clean up our lives, fast, feed the hungry and other things in an attempt to be a better Christian or to have God approve of us or feel more worthy of the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for us (some in the past would actually crawl on their knees for years to travel to Rome and do other physical sufferings to show their dedication to and/or their unworthiness towards God). We do these things not to have a relationship with the Father but out of already having one. When we do these things to gain standing or kudos with the Father we show that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is not enough to make us clean and acceptable to the Father. ”But Steve, doesn’t the Bible say to work out your salvation?” Yes, it does. But, if you read on in the next verse, it says that it is God that works IN or into you… We are to live or work out those things that God has ALREADY worked into us.
Your acceptance is important, I’m not talking about your acceptance to the Father, but rather your acceptance of what Jesus actually did for and to you. When Jesus was on the cross He came to a point where He cried out, “It is finished.” Was it just His physical earthy life that He was talking about? I don’t think so. I feel He was declaring an end to man’s attempts to get close to God or to become God-like (godly). (The Old Testament if full of mans attempts and failures.) When we attempt things to be better, we are acting as those who were under the law, look at your attempts as receiving circumcision. First of all, what do women do? Secondly, if you could do it, what did we need Jesus for anyway?
Where is your “finished line”? Do you ride past trying to show yourself better by making up your own line that qualifies you as a winner?
(Some previous details of a bicycle race are fictitious to make a point)