Mathew 19:16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
This question has stuck with me all week. What good do I day to "earn" my way to eternal life? Is it donating money or tithing? Is it volunteering or teaching at church? Do I get a gold star when I'm kind to those who are unfair to me? This notion of doing something in order to get something else feeds into our human paradigm. There is nothing inherently wrong with doing good things. The issue is that when we treat our faith the same way we suddenly begin to play a game of "karma" with GOD. We think that GOD needs our work. And even more dangerously we begin to believe that GOD only loves us when we do good. We hide in shame if we do something bad because we don't want to punished.
GOD's paradigm is drastically different. He is the sovereign determiner of "good". Romans 5:8 "But GOD demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us ". That's the kind of good that GOD showed us. We didn't do anything to deserve HIS grace and yet he drenches us in it. You do not get to determine what "good" is. Your works do not make you good, which is incredible because GOD in HIS all goodness spares us no grace. All HE asks is for us to follow with meek obedience and in the process develop the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, when we determine what good is we give GOD what we think he wants from us. But GOD discernment is so much more deeper. Look at what Jesus asks from this young man. His earthly possessions, something that he was holding onto and something that was holding him back from fully embracing HIS savior. We can look even further back at King Saul who held onto the fattened livestock and the best of the plunder from the Amalekites and thus lost GOD's anointment. GOD does not want our sacrifices because HE wants something that’s so much more primal and important. HE wants our attentiveness and obedience. HE wants to overthrow the throne we've built ourselves in our hearts and permanently sit there. And that process doesn't start with us just doing "good".