I believe that Satan wins a battle whenever he gets us to look in a mirror at ourselves.
When we get so caught up in our individuality, we lose sight of a lot of things.
Which in fact leads to one of the most dominant worldviews of religion today – that we earn our way to heaven. Having to do good works to satisfy God’s demands. Thus when we believe in a certain religion, we are condemned to a life of slavery and struggling to do good against our inner nature.
I would have to agree that we enter a life of slavery, and I do agree that our inner nature always fights against our wanting to do good.
Except for one thing.
Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 4-5
In that one biblical statement, the root of the Christian faith is summed up. God is the judge yes, but he is also merciful. And because He loves us, he made us alive with Christ – now this is the key part, because no one can come before God except through Jesus – even when we were dead in transgressions – it is a fact that we are all dead in our evilness. Nothing we do can save ourselves, no matter the number of good deeds, we are inherently, by nature, evil.
And it is by grace we have been saved. Grace is an amazing thing isn’t it. It’s just like saying George Bush captures Osama bin Laden, then says, alright you’re off the hook.
I myself, for one, would be outraged. And unless you’re an Osama supporter, you would be horrified at this act of grace.
Except that God did that for us. It is by His grace we are no longer judged, as long as we are in Christ Jesus.
Many reject this simple offer, because they believe that it is too good to be true. We humans are by nature suspicious of offers too good to be true, because we think we are being conned. And this is exactly what is happening, but it is the devil that is the conman – he arouses our suspicions so that we become wary of this simple offer.
Someone once said, that in fact, this is a story too good to not be true. And this grace is indeed too good to not be true. Redeemed and the way to heaven open for us. It is too good to not be true. The inner child in us seizes at this opportunity, just as how a sick man would seize any cure within grasp in his desperation.
I’m not saying the Christian life is free of suffering. In fact, contrary, it is full of suffering. After all the Bible says that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. The early Christian church suffered much. But what is suffering, when compared to the joy set before us? The Bible describes the kingdom of heaven as a treasure hidden in the field, which a man sold all he had in order to buy it after discovering it. Jesus himself even rebuked this notion of sacrifice, saying that “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” This is in fact quite a bold statement and there is much truth in it.
If small things can give us so much pleasure and joy, then what about the greatest thing there is in the universe, God himself? Because through Jesus, we can in fact come before the throne of God and call Him father. That relationships is our conduit, our river of joy.
That’s probably Satan’s greatest deception! Christianity is not about legalism. It’s not about do’s and dont’s. It’s a story of grace and love, it is about the hope of eternal joy. It’s about exchanging the temporary pleasures of this world for what satisfies forever. And when this joy in God bubbles up in you, it overflows to other people. This is what love really is. It is not a willpower religion. It is a fight for joy. And the fight only begins when we choose to accept Jesus as our Lord, as our Saviour and as the thing we will treasure most above all else. Then the Spirit of God comes and dwells in us, and the fight between the desires of our flesh and the desires of God
take root. But it is a battle that can be won, and will eventually be won, if we look to God for strength to run this race with perseverance. So that at the end of our lives we can say that I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. And then we are reunited in heaven with God.
I know that this doesn’t even begin to touch on many of the issues. Such as that that man is by nature evil. Or the contradiction that God needs us which is not true. But there is one message I want to get across. There is a story too good to not be true. And if you’ve read it, and its knocking at your door, it is a once in a lifetime offer of grace that you don’t want to miss. For those who have lost sight of that grace and got caught up in the legalism, the do’s and dont’s of Christianity, now is the time to turn back in your pursuit of joy in God.
This is not a joyless life. And I can testify to that. So look at all those mirrors that reflect the fact that you’re not good enough to go into heaven and say: I know I’m not good enough but I know the One who is more than good enough for me.