This is me trying my best to put together a blog entry that at least has the words “love” and “relationship” on Valentine’s week.
I loved it when professors give exemptions to those who perform excellently throughout the semester. I graduated from college a few years back (okay, that made me sound quite old) but I still vividly remember the sleepless nights my block mates and I would gladly face just so “Hell Week” (the university I went to refers to the finals week as such) wouldn’t be that tough. Getting exempted for the finals in one or two subjects meant we’d have extra time to work on papers and final projects or study for the more difficult subjects (or teachers 😛 ) we weren’t able to get an exemption from.
The formula to getting exempted is quite easy to spot – we work hard, we get perks and incentives and enjoy the fruit of our labor. The academe implements this to try to instil in each student the value of diligence, hard work, and excellence.
It’s interesting though how we’ve come to be so familiar with this philosophy, we tend to think the same principle applies in keeping our relationship with Jesus.
Our tendency to confuse ministry with spirituality stares us in the face without us even noticing most of the time. It’s easy for us to think that we can collect points by putting so much work in our individual ministries and then expect (whether consciously or unconsciously) that at the end of it all, we’d get what we’re believing God for (a breakthrough, a promotion, maybe that relationship you’ve always prayed for, or even deeper spirituality). Or, we may think our hard work would exempt us from common temptations and would keep us from stumbling. The Scriptures say otherwise.
1. When Jesus saved us, we weren’t doing anything.
“…but God shows HIs love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
We volunteer, serve, work hard, and do ministry because we are loved. Working with the intention to earn His love is pointless. We get answers to our prayers because answers (whether that’s a “yes”, a “no”, or a “wait”) are just some of His many expressions of love. And we get into a deeper relationship with Him, not when we’ve put in so much time in church, but only when we so earnestly yearn and eagerly fight for that time we spend with Him everyday.
2. We are anointed, but not exempted.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” – Jude 24-25
While God has given us the anointing, the skills, the abilities to reflect His very nature, we have to know that we are not exempted from everyday temptations – the temptation to gossip, to lie, to be greedy, to covet, to lust. The list can go on. The passage above is a reminder that only He can keep us from stumbling; that it is only by submitting under His glory and majesty, and dominion, and authority can we be blameless. So while we must be aware that we are in a fight against any temptation that the enemy decides to throw at us, we must only fight in, through, and with Him and never rely on our own strength.
This is me trying my best to put together a blog entry that at least has the words “love” and “relationship” on Valentine’s week, but I write this amidst all the love month hustle and bustle without the slightest intention to be all anti-climactic but to remind myself and everyone else who gets to read this entry to make a conscious effort in maintaining, protecting, and fighting for the one relationship that would keep us most satisfied – our love relationship with the Author of love Himself.