You have nothing to prove to your Heavenly Father! He loves you utterly already.
Amidst the exhaustion of a tiresome pandemic, we’ve been exploring the pathway to genuine energy. We’ve exposed how the twin counterfeit energy sources of rebellion and religion never lead to authentic life. Rebellion (which typifies the spirit of the age) wrongly assumes that less commitment and less rules always means more freedom. Religion (which masquerades as holiness) wrongly assumes that better performance makes us more acceptable. Rebellion says, “I’ll never be fully accepted, so why try?” Religion says, “If I perform better, I’ll finally be accepted.” Some people try both religion and rebellion.
Years ago, when our church hosted an outreach at a local homeless ministry, I met a resident named Johnny. He was wiry and his jeans hung low, not for style but for lack of a belt. He came to me for prayer.
“I’d like to find work and get my life back on track,” he said.
“Why, certainly. Let’s ask the Lord to grant you favor in finding a good job. What kind of work do you do?”
“I was an auto mechanic,” he said. “But I’ve done some jail time, and now no one wants to hire me.”
“Do you have family?”
“My father is still living in the area, but he doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore. He wasn’t the kind of father who ever told me he was proud of me or anything like that. When I was younger, I started making pretty good money as a mechanic, but my father still put me down. We were always comparing how much we made. For a little while I was making more money than him, but it didn’t last long. Soon he got a raise and was winning again. That’s when I got in with some wrong friends and found out how much money I could make selling drugs.”
Johnny hung his head in utter dejection. “I haven’t even talked to my father since I got out of jail.”
Johnny’s efforts to perform for his father’s pride eventually led him to abandon his moral compass. Performance-based people are often lured into rebellion because they’ve found religion so deadening. There’s only one source of authentic life—relationship with God in Christ. And that’s the Gospel!