We’re all hypocrites at one time or another.
Nothing frustrates me more as a father than when my kids ignore an order.
“Pick up your clothes.”
“Clear the table.”
“Stop fighting with your sister!”
These commands are usually met with less than humble acquiescence. A roll of the eyes. A shrug of the shoulder. Or my favorite – “huh?” Life would be so much easier if you would just do what you’re told! (Don’t mock, when you’re a parent, you’ll say it, too).
Only problem is, no one hates to be told what to do more than me.
“Erik, can you fold those towels and put them in the linen closet?”
“Hey babe, I need you to run down to the store and pick up some milk.”
“Would you mind getting the neighbor’s extension ladder and hanging the blind in that second story window?”
“In a minute!” (When I’ve made you wait long enough so that it feels like my idea instead of your directive).
God knows this about us, too (go figure). That’s why He sent Jesus.
Not because His “rules,” His righteousness, His holiness, His way of doing things no longer mattered. But because He knew that “do this” or “stop that” commands never did anything to change our heart. Even those who succumb to attempts at honoring every edict simply become self-righteous in the process.
In Jesus death and resurrection, God offers us a core change not a detailed checklist. He undermines our instinctive rebellion toward rules and directives, and transforms the heart. He neuters our desire to become our own saviors, to seek the accolades of others and earn our place in His Kingdom.
Not just in a past moment where we prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, raised a hand, or filled out a commitment card. Every moment of every day.
Our salvation is His work.
Our perfection is His work.
Not rules to live by (you can stop bristling). New desires. New heart. New life.
“Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?” –Galatians 3:2-4 MSG