I was driving to work this morning and I was thinking about my faith. The little I do know and the whole bunch that I don’t. I easily find myself in the trap of earning approval. Not just from others, but from God. It’s a habit. One that was formed years ago and one that is in need of breaking.
Many, many times, I have caught myself discounting my place in Heaven due to a lack of knowledge. For some reason, I have thought that only the people who have it all figured out get a solid place next to Jesus. It’s not really a main thought that goes through my head, it just lingers there, clouding some of the joy that I could experience.
The truth is this: none of us will ever fully understand God and His ways. It wasn’t until recently that this has truly sunk in. There’s a huge freedom in that truth. Our faith will always be imperfect, because we are an imperfect people. There’s a verse in Luke (Luke 17:6) where Jesus said that if we have even the tiniest bit of faith, even as small as a mustard seed, He can use that. He accepts that. He always wants us to be growing, but a mustard seed is a good start.
None of us deserve Heaven. Plain and simple. Through Jesus, we’ve been given the gift of eternal life, for free. That’s called grace. After we accept Him as our Savior, our journey through life is also covered by His grace. I think it’s easy to forget that. He knows that our intentions are messed up. That our faith is drenched with ignorance and pride. That we all battle selfishness and hypocrisy. He loves us anyways. Crazy.
I think of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He did some bad stuff in life, which landed him on the cross. He deserved it, Jesus did not. He went his whole life apart from Christ until that final moment when he asked Jesus to think of him when He gets to Heaven (Luke 23: 42-43). Jesus accepted that plea of faith. Amazing in comparison to this life. The thief only knew Jesus briefly, he had a mustard seed faith. Jesus was ok with that. We, as Christians and Non-Christians have that same freedom and grace extended to us!
The thought that knowledge and deeds will earn our way through the Pearly Gates is a trap. At what point does God decide that you have scored enough points to enter? When does the “earning” ever end? That’s the point, there are no points. There’s no scorekeeper. Faith is the key. It’s being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
I’m thankful for the freedom to fail and fall short. We all do it. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”-Romans 3:23-24. I’m encouraged to know that there is no such thing as a perfect faith.
This imperfect guy is learning how to live in that freedom.
Have you ever felt that you need to be perfect or earn your way to Heaven? How about earning the approval of others?