Kristy and I are in the process of moving into a new apartment. It’s in the same complex we’ve lived in over the past two years, but we’re moving from a one bedroom to a larger two bedroom. Both of us are very excited. One of the reasons we picked this particular apartment is that the landlord allowed us to paint it any color we want. The previous tenant painted a lot and most of the colors we are keeping, but there was this teal, aqua-marine, greenish-blue colored wall that we both knew had to go.
Kristy loves to paint…which is good because I’d rather jump out of a burning building than do it. Anyway, so I was over taping the trim and getting everything set up for us to paint, and then I realized something. It would be impossible for me to paint this. First off, I’m horrible at painting—I’m twenty-six and still can’t color in the lines of a coloring book, let alone paint a wall with precision. That’s where my gorgeous wife comes in! She has a real knack for this kind of stuff.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to get to is this: we were both very stressed about making the move. It’s a lot to pack up your life, not matter how little you have, and move and clean and relocate. We realized that we were going to have to enlist the help of our friends, because we simply weren’t able to move the bigger things on our own. We don’t have a truck, so we had to find that. The point is, to make the move, we just were not able to do it on our own.
As I was thinking about it I had one of those “God” moments where you can see a Scripture truth actually illustrated in life. We were not able to move ourselves just like I am unable to save myself. We go through life with all kinds of hurts, baggage, and we are always packing, repacking, and relocating, but we try and do it all on our own. Why? We want to get rid of it. Anxiety infects us, hopelessness creeps in, and discouragement drains our joy. Pretty soon, we’re helpless and lost in our own insecurities wondering if we’re ever going to get out of this spiritual “funk” we’re in. So what do we do? We start to try harder. We try to be more “Christian” or a better moral person. We scramble to any event we can do that involves the church—and that, by the way isn’t a bad thing. However, after a season of this we begin to realize that we’re in the same boat we were in, but we’re just distracting ourselves.
So what’s the solution? Remember the inspire words of Paul:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9, ESV).
We can’t do enough “good things.” We can’t go to church enough, we can’t pray enough, we can’t be “moral” enough. We simply cannot earn our salvation—it is the gift of God Himself to you and I. We are not Pelagians (a movement in the early church who though that they could earn their way to heaven). who are trying to be busy enough and look good enough to give us extra brownie points with God. We are a people set free from sin and death!
The most liberating thing you can learn as a Christian is that you are saved by the blood of Jesus—the work of God on the Cross, but more importantly, Jesus rose from the dead triumphing over the icy grip of death, and breaking your chains of sin. He throws open your jail cell and sets the captives (us) free! We don’t have to pack, re-pack, move, and try to look busy. “It is finished” (John 19:30). You don’t need to do anymore—just trust Jesus. His blood has never failed us yet!
I want to challenge you this week to admit to yourself, “I’m not able.” Pray that God will show you you’re not able to save yourself. Serve in the church, but out of love, not duty. Grow in the Word, walk by the Spirit, and be confident because you are a child of the Living God! Just something to think about. – Scott