Friday, July 22, 2005

Love or Duty?

There is a trap into which I fall sometimes. It happens when I hear a little voice saying, "You can do more for the Lord." I don't know whose voice it is, but it is very convincing.

The temptation is to immediately rustle up some good deeds and acts of random kindness. You want to make that call, do that favor, send that card. And, of course, these are all wonderful responses. But by responding to that voice, I've put the cart before the horse (old vernacular, isn't it! How about "trailer before the SUV").

If you read Romans enough times, it begins to sink in that doing works to please God is an exercise in futility. What He has done for us is beyond payback. That's a difficult concept that I don't think we'll fully comprehend until we are basking in the glory of heaven. At that point, we will realize exactly how bad sin was, how massive the sacrifice for us, and how undeserved our reward is.

So the ideal scenario is this: we pray for wisdom and for God to open our eyes to just how blessed we've been to be saved. As we daily meditate on this incredible love, we find ourselves responding to needs around us without thinking in terms of points, stars in our crown, or duty. It becomes a worthy lifestyle; your servant mentality is on auto-pilot and you feel no sense of obligation, just happiness at opportunities.

I said "ideal scenario". Some of us were raised in a religious culture where salvation was not a gift, it was a paycheck for services rendered. Overcoming that guilt-based mentality is tough. But it can be done. I've seen too many who've accomplished it.

And, they are the happiest people I know.

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