“Let them be eternally condemned”. That’s some strong language the apostle Paul used in the first chapter of his letter to the Galatians.
He was talking about the Jews who wanted to require the new Gentile-born and bred Christians to follow the Old Testament laws. Paul had to use strong language to get across his point that they were missing the point. Christianity is not about a bunch of external do’s and don’ts.
It’s easy to cluck our tongues and think, those Jews had it coming to them. Yet, in the course of Christian history, all too often, Christians have been entangled by the externals too. It’s an easy trap. Our human mindset says, just tell me what to do, give me a list, I’ll check it off, and we’ll be good. Don’t make life complicated by giving me principles I have to figure out and make choices.
The simple fact is, we cannot earn our way to heaven. Christ already paid the debt so there is nothing more for us to owe. Tweet this.
Why can’t people get it? Why do people get so hung up on following the externals? I often ask.
Then I take a look at myself. I get ambushed too.
Sometime ago in this blog, I admitted how accomplishment oriented I can be. I’m the queen of the to-do list. More often than I care to admit, my self-worth at the end of the day is based on how many check marks I have beside those to-do’s. My journal tells the story of what I DID each day. At times I despair, wondering what I have accomplished in my life.
God is still confronting me with the need to live by grace and not by works. Last Sunday, one of our church leaders shared this thought from a Rick Warren devotion in his communion meditation: Life is not about our acquisitions or accomplishments.Tweet this. Our career or our car will not get us into heaven; only our character based on our faith in Jesus Christ will.
How do I make this practical? How do I balance the to-be’s with the to-do’s? How do I do this on a daily basis so I keep evolving into a grace mind set?
Here’s my plan. At the beginning of each day, I want to choose one character trait that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I will try to be that day. Check back Friday for a fun way we can do this together.
At the end of each day, I want to be able to answer these questions about my day:
- How did I grow in my character and my relationship with Jesus?
- What did I learn about God?
- How did I reflect God’s love and grace to those around me?
My to-do lists are important. They give me direction to fulfill my responsibilities and to be a good steward of my time. But they are only a means to an end, not the end result. I want to spend as much time planning and setting goals for how I will grow in Christ and reflect Christ as I do on my external accomplishments.