We are all in need of a Savior. I am sure there are lots of different reasons we come to accept Jesus as our Saviour and receive our free gift of grace. I have noticed a common pattern many people go through. First they get saved, then the start doing all the things they think Christians should do, or maybe even than other Christians are telling them that they should do. Then they screw those things up and so they try harder. They pray more and read their Bible even more and maybe attend another Bible study or volunteer more hours at the church. You can only keep this going for so long, before you are completely burned out of this cycle.
It’s like we recognize we need a Savior but once He has saved us we try to earn it, or prove we were deserving of it after all, or maybe that we were not as bad as we used to be. We go through all these motions and I think this is where a real religiosity can set in because motions are all they become. All those things they are doing are not bad things at all, but they are meaningless at this point.
Here some people give up. They can’t keep it going and decide this God thing and church thing and religion are just not for them. Others find some way to perpetually keep the cycle going, but they are hollow inside and really just fake people.
There is another group though, that reaches this crucial point and realizes that something is wrong and it’s not with God, it’s with them. They realize they don’t HAVE to do any of those things. They don’t have to read their Bible or go to church or pray or stop swearing or smoking or cheating or anything. We are never forced or obligated to do any of it. This is where their real relationship with Christ is birthed and grows. This is where they read their Bible to get to know Him more and not because they have to or because they are not good enough or to prove they deserve anything. They pray because they want to talk to this living God who listens and answers. They go to church because community grows us and we are not just here for ourselves. They work on issues in their own lives because they realize there is more to this life than the things that are keeping them back and they want to be more like Jesus. If you don’t know him you won’t want to be like Him. You can’t know Him if you are too busy going through the motions to hear Him and His heart.
There is a shift between doing and being. Christianity is no longer something I do or believe in, it’s who I am. I screw it up all the time and that’s ok. My life is a journey. It has crazy twists and turns, ups and downs and it is anything but perfect. The reason it’s ok is because He is Immanuel – God with us. He’s with me every step of this journey and all the things I do all need to be about walking with Him and as much as possible enjoying this journey we are on together – not because the journey is easy, but because I am not alone.