I asked my oldest son to listen to my last post, “Orthopraxy.” He decided I needed to write a book on how grace became real to me. That seems huge and slightly boring.
Okay…a LOT boring. But he did make me think.
The first time I heard someone tell me I needed to give myself a healthy dose of grace was when I requested a psychiatric evaluation from Dr. Frank Minirth. You see, I had burned out from giving, giving, giving to the church. I didn’t know how to say no and didn’t want to disappoint God. If He was opening the door for so many opportunities, wasn’t I to walk through?
Now I know, I had an underlying belief not based upon scripture: I must prove my love for Him. My upbringing would not allow me to rest. I thought my good works were proof of my commitment. I would do whatever I imagined He asked without complaint. I would be poured out as a drink offering just like Paul.
Can you hear unrealistically high expectations and the personal severity in those sentences?
I felt I must prove…I was not allowed to rest…I would do whatever…I would be poured out…
I got in the way. Perfectionistic legalism had been my taskmaster, and although I’d learned the truth of His word, I didn’t understand how my sense of duty was getting in the way.
Duty before devotion leads to legalism and self-righteousness.
But His yoke is easy and His burden is light. All who are weary and heavy-laden are to come to Him and find rest for their souls.
He became our sacrifice because the Law (the list of rules) could NOT save us.
If I believed His sacrifice was enough, then why was I trying to add to it? If I return to orthopraxy (right living for salvation) I have trampled on the blood of Christ. I’m trying to add to a work which is complete. Perfect. Once for all.
“But, Michelle,” you ask, “aren’t we told to do good works?”
Yes. We are. The ones He’s prepared beforehand that we should do. NOT the ones we imagine we are to do to gain kudos from Him.
Some works are completely from the flesh and others are from the Spirit. Only those works which are from the Spirit will make it through the fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The works from the flesh will be burned like wood, hay, or straw. If I can pat myself on the back for what I believe I’ve done for Him, that’s all the kudos I’m going to get. The works of the Spirit may not even be discernible this side of heaven. Sometimes they appear so good to those of us who only see flesh, we imagine we’re doing wonderful things for God. But the motives, which only God sees, will be revealed.
Before, I was taking the work on myself, imagining I was causing Jesus to be happiest with me. Hoping He would love me more, because I wasn’t really sure His love extended to me. And when I couldn’t do it (keep up the work) anymore, I felt I had let Him down. And now what would I do???
Trust His work, not mine…