Have you ever done something one way, thinking it was ‘just fine’ until you found a trick, got an upgrade, or had someone show you a new way? This is how I felt when I first put glasses on. I didn’t know that I had a problem until I was at a baseball game with my parents and couldn’t read the scoreboard no matter how much I squinted! The huge numbers wouldn’t come into focus leading my mother to freak out while I was still fully in denial. Once I got over the embarrassment of having to wear glasses as a seven-year-old, and began wearing them regularly, I realized just how desperately I needed them.
The correcting of my poor vision pales in comparison to the upgrade of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. The Israelites thought they were doing just fine, they had their routines down, but Jesus came to show them a better way.
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. Hebrews 8:13a (ESV)
It’s so easy to feel like we must do things right:
• Read my Bible every day.
(If I read the entire Bible in a year I get extra bonus points)
• Pray every day.
(If I pray in the morning, my requests show up earlier in God’s queue)
• Go to church.
(If I attend a mid-week service, I get to wear the badge of ‘devoted’)
And while these things aren’t bad, they are not rules meant to be followed. These habits should be the result of a changed heart and renewed mind. And that’s the beauty of what Christ did!
The Old Testament Law was a behavior modification program.
Jesus’s sacrifice was an emergency heart transplant.
“I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Hebrews 8:10 (ESV)
This is exactly what Jesus died to accomplish. He didn’t sacrifice himself so that we’d act better or do the right thing. He came because he loves us and wants a relationship. The Lord made a way for us to reconnect with him.
God set up a system where our hearts can be made completely new. We don’t have to work for our salvation, but we can live in it. We can be called God’s children because he’s infused us with his heart, his DNA, and his life. And for that I’m immensely grateful.
And yet, many times I still find myself actively trying to be chosen by God. I want to follow the rules because I’m good with rules, I’m used to rules, and I’m comfortable with rules. I’m good at doing, I’m not good at being.
But God didn’t create human doings, he made us human beings.
We don’t need to strive and work and hustle to be accepted and loved by God, he already does! His covenant is sure and secure no matter how many times we screw up along the way. He doesn’t want obedience out of rote memorization or a sense of obligation, that was the way things were done under the Law. Instead, he longs for a loving relationship with his children.
What would it look like if you devoted a day (or even an hour) to just being? What if you took off that need to achieve and that desire to be perfect and allowed yourself to just be you in his presence? What if you allowed him to love you, all of you, without the church girl facade?
He is love and the new covenant is perfect, and he happily welcomes us into them today. Let’s accept his invitation!
Featured Photo by: Allison Mims