Charles Stanley said in a devotion I read many years ago:
Every religion except Christianity has a plan or ritual by which one supposedly gains acceptance with that belief system’s god. Such plans all boil down to this: “If I do better, I will be better. If I am better, then I will be more acceptable to my god.” Man does the work and thereby earns the glory for being a good member of his religion.”
You know, I hate to say it….but I believe that is the unspoken ritual of Christianity as well. It’s certainly not taught in Scripture, but it is definitely taught in our society. I spent the whole first half of my life learning all I needed to DO to be a good Christian. I’m spending the second half of my life trying to unlearn what I learned!
Stanley also said,
“According to human logic, the man with the highest education, the largest number of degrees, and the greatest intelligence should have the wisest plan to reach God.”
Now isn’t that the way our world thinks??
However, that’s not God’s way. As Brennan Manning says in his book, The Raggamuffin Gospel,
“You have My love. You don’t have to pay for it, You didn’t earn it and can’t deserve it. You only have to open up to it and receive it. You only have to say yes to My love–a love beyond anything you can intellectualize or imagine.”
It’s hard to unlearn things that are so much a part of me…those tapes that play in my head telling me how I “ought” to act and what I “ought” to do to earn God’s love. Slowly but surely I am learning to rest in Him. I am learning to go where He leads….not where all the other voices are telling me to go. This can be a lonely road because many times we have to walk it alone. But then….we’re never really alone when we have Him. And doing it His way is always the right way.
1 John 4:16 (NIV84) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.