Focus on love not works. 

If you have grown up in the Church, the way I did, there is a good chance that you have this erroneous opinion that, as a Christian you are somehow “better” than your non-church friends. Not in an outward pushy way really, just that you know the truth, and because of Christ, you’re just a bit more “holy” than others.
I’ve heard it said, in Church, that we should “be an example of how one should live their life, to the unsaved world around us.” This is a great sentiment and is probably true, but the reality of the situation is that we are not better than our non-church going friends.

This kind of teaching will only drive people away from Christ, because it is not possible, you will eventually fail, and the more times you fail at being good, the more frustrated you will get, until you eventually give up.

The divorce rate in the church going community is the same as in the rest of the population. Usually, when this statistic is quoted it is followed up with something like “shame on you, you should be trying harder”.

And again, that’s probably also true, but let’s think about it this way. If the divorce rate was better in the church going community, what would we immediately do? We would say “look at us, we are better than the rest of you” don’t deny it, that’s exactly what most of the church going community would do.

If we were better than the rest of society, we would use that to bring glory to ourselves, this is human nature.

The only thing we have that the rest of society does not, is the Love of Christ. That’s the only thing we have that makes us different. The only thing we can be better at, is showing the Love of Christ to others.

So please stop telling people (especially our youth) that they should be trying harder to please God. Tell them instead, to revel in God’s love and acceptance and to show God’s love and acceptance to those around them.

We are to be a “light unto this world”, my belief is the “light” is Gods Love, not our goodness. I think people assume that the “light” is somehow our righteousness and good deeds. Your good deeds are the result of showing Gods love to others. But we are told that our “good deed” are like filthy rags to God. So how can our good deeds be a light to the world and filthy rags to God?

God’s love often manifests it’s self in good deeds, but the deeds are not the real light. God’s love is the light, your good deeds are the visible result of showing God’s love. So focus on the love, not your deeds. It’s a difference in attitude. Instead of thinking you need to do good deeds to earn God’s approval, you should be thinking, how do I show God’s love and acceptance to others, the good deeds will follow.

Show God’s love to the unsaved world. Stop trying to change the world with your good deeds, that’s exhausting, and also not possible. But God’s love shown through His people has the power to change people’s lives.

One quick clarification:

There are Christians who are “better” than others. They don’t smoke, they don’t drink, they have made fairly decent decisions in their lives, they have good kids, they have good spouses, and good jobs. But they cannot claim their situation is because God has blessed them for being “good”. Because: You can find Buddhists who are in the same situation, you can find Muslims, you can even find atheists that fit that mold. So if you’re a Christian who “has got it all together”, you are most at risk of falling into this “works” based self righteousness.

So again, if you must work on something to try to improve yourself, work on showing God’s love to all people. If you focus on Christ and His love, the rest of your self improvement goals will take care of themselves.

2 thoughts on “Focus on love not works. 

  1. Thanks Jim! Great reminder. It is humbling in your heart of hearts as a Christian to wake up one day and realize that you bring nothing to the table spiritually. When God made Adam in His image, He looked upon him and said “It is good”. My whole life I thought that meant that when I accept Christ as my Savior that I am then “good”. I can now be good FOR God. In reality, what God saw in man that was good was… HIMSELF! Man was good because He made that man able to house God! The only thing good… Ever!… IN man IS GOD. If God isn’t IN us, directing us, and DOING the work then it is self righteousness and an absolute sin. Because the Bible says anything that is not of Faith IS sin. Therefore, the redeeming work of the cross BY Christ is the first major step in our salvation (by faith), it “makes peace with God through His shed blood” col.1:15-21. But Christ then CALLS us each to DIE to ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him (by faith) by accepting the power of His resurrection in our lives. Who died on the cross? CHRIST!! PICK UP CHRIST every moment of everyday and LET HIM DO THE WORK! That is Godliness and true salvation. God doing the work IN us and THROUGH Us every moment of every day. Reality: it is not our job to love others, it is our job to humbly depend on God to love them through us!!! Which means if we are truly letting go and letting God? He will love every one perfectly through us. Which means we aren’t worried about loving only those who we like. The table has been cleared for Christ to love them all, the only true way to be Godly. God IN us DOING it! We fail by taking our focus off Jesus and trying to do it in our own strength. Our “flesh” (sin nature, or “what we ARE independent of God) is still in there trying to hold on to the reins. Give the reins to God and you become “Godly by association”! 🙂

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