You know the friend who took you out to lunch a couple of weeks ago and now you want to do something nice for them? Your not trying to earn favor with them but simply love them and want to return the favor. That’s all good. We all have those friends of which we have close, personal relationships. However, if those acts of kindness were not being somewhat reciprocated or those phone calls start being neglected, one friend would most likely be offended and the friendship would wax cold.
I do it. Just this weekend I went to lunch with a friend who has helped me in my real estate career, so I felt obligated to buy her lunch. That obligation wasn’t burdensome. It felt like the right thing to do. She has helped me tremendously, so why wouldn’t I buy her lunch? It was truly my pleasure.
You see the problem arises when we Believers begin feeling this way about the Lord. When we begin to view our acts of obedience as meriting our blessings. We fasted 21 days, so the Lord blesses me. We read the Bible in a year, so the Lord blesses me. It’s that same feeling of “doing our part” in our earthly relationships that we tend to apply to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our sincerity is true but our evil motives are often not realized. Religion is on the sidelines rooting us on for our wonderful works and we fail to discern the little leaven that is beginning to leaven.
“21 Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the Will of My Father which is in Heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name? and in Your Name have cast out devils? and in Your Name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23
Doing many wonderful works is not a condition of entering into Heaven. Doing “our part” is not a condition of entering into Heaven. Our only part in entering into Heaven is faith in the Cross of Christ. Jesus Christ is the Source and His Cross the means by which we receive our blessings from God. This is the fight of faith we must fight daily, faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is easy for us in our flesh to vainly attempt to earn our Salvation; returning the favor as we so often do among our friends. God can’t accept our part. Our part is nothing but filthy rags; it is Cain’s sacrifice. Our part defiles our righteousness imputed to us by the Blood of Jesus.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Tim. 6:12
God has given each and every person a work to do. Blessed are those who are faithful to the work He has given us. However, even those who God is using in a mighty way, need daily to humble themselves before the Lord and not allow their work to be the object of their faith and their consecration to the Lord to become ambition of further blessing. Of course the Lord blesses our consecration but we must be ever so careful to not allow our consecration to be the means and ourselves the source of our blessings. THIS is the denial of self. THIS is the picking up of our cross, the blessings of God afforded us by the Cross of Christ…THIS is following Jesus (Luke 9:23). THIS is the Power of God unto us who are saved. Jesus Christ and Him crucified, be determined to know nothing else among you.
“For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor. 1:18
-Donna Clark Warren