16th June 2020
Many people think they can get to heaven by doing good works.
That is not true, no amount of 'Brownie points' will get us into heaven;
we can only get to heaven through faith and by God's grace.
So why do we bother to do good things or go out of our way to help others?
It's not to gain God's favour, it's in gratitude for all God has done for us.
The point is, it's all about God, not us, we were not the instigator - he was.
Paul said it clearly in his letters to the Early church.
5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done,
but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
God's amazing love is not based on us getting our act together to deserve it.
It is not based on our track record of performance to guarantee its continued flow.
Rather, God's love is based on the fact that God is love (1 John 4:7).
He is gracious and extends His love and grace to us, apart from and in spite of anything in us.
So what does God want us to do in the light of the above readings?
Whatever we do, it is the intensions behind the actions that are important.
Are we doing it for our glory or God's?
God wants us to be in a loving relationship with him.
He wants our time, attention, and affection.
Why? Because He deserves our worship,
and because giving Him these things also benefits us
(this is the true heart of love-it gives!).
We are made to share in the love of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
and we won't be satisfied until we do -
that's why Jesus prays that wonderful prayer for his disciples
(and us) that we find in John 17:24-26
And first century St. Augustine of Hippo in his writings entitled 'Confessions' wrote:
"Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee."
Yes, there is a 'God shaped' hole in all of us.
It's just that many do not recognise it.
Remember what Jesus did. He died so that we didn't have to,
it was a gift from God and his greatest desire is that we spend time with Him -
in extended times of prayer and worship,
and in moment-by-moment conversation all throughout the day.
By connecting with Him, we will receive greater peace and clarity about His will for our lives!
Finally we are told to,
'Go out and make disciples of all nations.' Matt.28:19.
We may not be called to be missionaries abroad
but we can share the good news of Jesus and our story of how he has worked in our life
within our communities and among the people we meet.
God is good and he will put us in situations where we can further his kingdom.