TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Translation? We are saved through faith (the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen) by grace (a gift you don’t deserve). It has nothing to do with you — how much you go to church, if your parents believe in God, or how many “good” deeds you do — it has everything to do with Jesus and the free gift He gave us. Because if it was any other way, we’d boast.
Now, it figures we do the exact opposite. Instead of Jesus lovers, we have become do gooders. Morality is the life we live. We boast we don’t smoke, we don’t do drugs, we don’t have sex outside of marriage, we tithe, we do good. Therefore, we are good, right? We have become morality worshippers instead of Jesus worshippers. Good deeds are our salvation. Christian! Do you not remember what God calls our good deeds in Isaiah? He calls them filthy rags. Literally in Hebrew: menstrual cloths. God calls our good works a dirty tampon! You are not good! He alone is. We put such an emphasis on doing the right thing and being around the right people, and we better not associate ourselves with anything even remotely unholy, that we’ve lost our sense of calling.
Our job as Christians is not to “get people to stop drinking, smoking and having sex, only to start being proud of their morality,” according to Mark Driscoll. Our mission is to show people the way to falling in love with a Savior who wants their hearts, not their good deeds; but, how can we show it if we’re not doing it ourselves? How can you teach something you don’t believe in yourself? When you ask people how they are doing spiritually, how many times have you heard: “Better. I’m starting to get back on track.”
What track? What track were they on, that they are now getting back on? When did we start believing a relationship was a list of do’s and don’ts?
I recently got married and the relationship I have with my husband is a constant, daily, getting to know him more deeply. Even though we’ve known each other for four years, I am learning new things about him all the time. I don’t come home and he has a list of things for us to do to get closer. We live together, love each other, serve each other, talk and even fight so way we can grow closer. This is what God has called us to! A life of living closer to Him. We have made prayer and reading His Word a chore, but they are means to know Him.
When Russ (my husband) and I were first dating, he lived in San Diego. Our only means of communicating was talking on the phone and Skype. These were the means we had to have a relationship, so we took advantage of them. Take advantage of the tools your Savior gave you! He longs to share things with you. Believer, God has incomprehensible ways He wants to glorify Himself through you. But are you so self focused on you and your good deeds that His glory is no longer your first priority? Oh, seek Him, my friend. Meditate in your heart this question: Do you seek Jesus or your own morality?
— Courtney Dyer, local lover of the Lord Jesus Christ