I was walking back from walking my girlfriend home the other night and God spoke to me. It’s not that unusual that God speaks to me, although I still find it amazing that the creator of the universe cares enough about me to actually talk to me. Anyway, I’ve digressed already! This is what he was saying:
As a Christian that loves Jesus (as a Christian you should love Jesus…) I understand that this love compels me to want to do “good works”. It compels me to want to serve at church, it compels me to want to show love to others, it compels me to want follow the teachings that are included in the bible, it compels me to want to imitate Christ.
God loved us completely and fully before we were saved, before we’d had our spirits renewed, before we’d ever done anything for Him. And by putting our faith in Him we were forgiven and assured of an eternal live in a renewed creation (commonly known as heaven). We don’t have to do ‘good things’ to win God’s approval. A lot of people once they’ve heard this then ask “So why do Christians have to follow any rules? Surely you can just go and do whatever you want?”. As I said in the last paragraph, if you love Jesus, this love compels you to not want to go and do whatever, sleep around and take loads of drugs etc (to use a slightly extreme example).
There’s nothing quite like an illustration to make that clearer, and this is what God was saying to me the other night, and why I mentioned at the beginning that I was walking my girlfriend home. The walk is about an hour round trip, it’s cold and dark outside, my bed is often warm and inviting and I’m quite often tired. (keep reading otherwise this sounds really bad) But none of that even comes to mind, I just do it, I just walk her home. The fact that she is my girlfriend, that I have a relationship with her, that I care about her, all these things compel me to just want to walk her home. It makes all the negatives seem completely insignificant. I don’t have the desire to walk her home because I think she won’t like me if I don’t, it’s a not a desire that’s born out of guilt, it’s a desire that is born out of a relationship.
So if you’re a Christian and you’re reading this and you’re struggling with sin in a particular area of your life or you’re feeling like you should be serving more to win God’s approval, then what you need to get right first is your relationship with God. Speak to Him. Read His word. He wants to talk to you! He loves you!
And if you’re not a Christian and you’re reading this (and you probably think I’m a nutter, I would have a few years ago before I met Jesus) then I hope this illustration has helped you understand why Christians want to do ‘good things’ and yet know that they don’t win God’s love by doing ‘good things’.