It takes just as much faith to do nothing as it does to do much.
In the natural scheme of things those who do much in this world are applauded. Those who do little or nothing are downgraded and criticised.
This is the outward performance of religion.
God looks at the heart otherwise what hope is there for those who believe but are trapped in a body that cannot perform? What hope has a quadriplegic got if all depends upon performance?
How much faith it must have taken for Jesus to ONLY heal one person at the pool of Bethesda in John 5?
The Pharisees prayed long prayers to counteract their law breaking. The publican simply said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Luk 18:9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’
Luk 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I guess that is what I am speaking about here. Trusting in ourselves versus having no trust in our selves to produce the goods. Self righteousness is the worst thing! Yet it is lifted up and lauded by the world. Motivational speakers are hired to give their pep talks to selves that want to perform better, and to outperform the company across the street.
Self righteousness causes us to despise others and to look down our nose at them. It is the opposite spirit of the Love of God in Jesus Christ. Yet it is what characterises many Christians and their churches. We imagine things like—“I do not sin like those in the world therefore I must be a good Christian.” Or….”God blesses me because I tithe, I fast, I do good deeds….but His curse is upon you poor brother because you refuse to do these things.”
The only thing that self righteousness like this will beget is a humbling experience from the hand of God. God resists the proud but He draws near to the humble.
Admitting our inability is what God is after.
The younger son in Jesus parable(Luke 15) learned that it was best to dwell with the Father than to go it alone out in the world. The experience with the pigs and poverty and lack of any friends helped him to see things right. He came to his senses and returned to the Father’s house. The Father’s house is not the church either , but speaks of a walk with God in the spirit–in grace by faith.
Luk 15:29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.
Luk 15:30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
Luk 15:31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
Both sons had the wrong view of things.
The younger thought he could make a success of life by himself – so he neglected the Father. He found out the opposite was true. He found out that in and of himself he had nothing and was unable to do anything!
The older son also had the wrong idea. He mistakenly thought that all his serving and busying of himself to be a good son was what would please his father. He was upset that his service never caused his father to give him anything lavish as a reward. This revealed his self righteousness. He despised his brother for his lack of integrity and slackness. He compared himself with others and thought he was better.
The Father gives to whomever He wills…NOT based upon our doing or our not doing. What touches the Fathers heart is repentance and humility. Being with the Father means that all that is His is ours. Being—resting in His love and approval of us –not based upon doing and not doing–but upon being adopted sons and daughters of God by faith in Jesus Christ. That is enough for Him…so it should be enough for us. Trouble is we have these wrong ideas planted in our minds.
The world and natural mind says, “It is NOT enough! I must do more for God to win His favour.” Or…“OH no! I have really blown it now, it’s all over, I blew it! God will not give to me because I do not do enough for Him!”
Luk 15:32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ “
All of us need to die and live again. He was alive when he was in the Fathers house…he went away into death when he separated and tried to make life work independently from his father. He is alive again now that he has returned with a new understanding in his heart of his inability and unworthiness. He understands now that it is the Father that does all things through him. He himself can do nothing.
As long as we think we can do things without God or for God…to please God — we are dead. This is why the old covenant was superceded by the new. Man can never be justified by the works of the law but only through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is a hard lesson to learn for us, and failure is ahead until we do accept this truth in our deepest places. God does not bless old covenant obedience which is initiated by the soul through the flesh. He only blesses what is initiated from the spirit man by faith in Jesus. WE are His dear children who are at rest in the spirit. We are blessed already simply by being His. We became His through the work of God- not our own. We stay His through that same faith which is all by grace. We do all things or no things by that same relationship based faith given by Him.