Enjoy: Obliterating Obligation and Accepting Delight.
Growing up in a Christian household has really showed me the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about being a Christian. The good part was I was raised with good morals and loving parents. The Bad part was I knew everything about what a Christian “should” do, and I thought that that’s what it meant to be saved and follow Jesus. The Ugly part was when I came to knowledge of my spiritual blind spots, I feel as though people want me to return to who I was, not embrace God’s work in me.
Like many young Korean Christians I was brought up learning Christian things: Praying the “Lord’s Prayer” and Going to AWANA memorizing Bible Verses. I was what you would call a “Stereotypical evangelical Christian”. I was baptized as an infant, Confirmed my Freshman year of High School and reconsidered much of how I live my life in light of the Gospel of Jesus during my Junior and Senior Year. Much of my life has always been about doing “Obligatory Christian works” rather than simply delighting in who I am in Jesus and letting my enjoyment of him flow as love towards other.
Some of you reading this may not know Jesus. Or you “know of” him, you may not really know him. Jesus is God’s son who came to die for your sins and my sins in order to bring us back together with God. In fact one of the most known Bible Verses says (Very likely you’ve seen this on the bottom of a “Forever 21” bag or an “In-N-Out” drink cup), “For God so loved the world, that he gave us only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV) Jesus paid for every wrong thing I’ve done and I’ll ever do, because sin offends God and God can’t be near sin, but Jesus chose to become our substitute and restore this relationship we have with God.
It’s kind of sad to say, but I can remember more days when I felt “pushed” to do things for God, rather than the days that I spent so much time with him that loving others was an overflow of my enjoyment of God. I wonder if many other Christians can say the same. So much of our Western Civilization culture focuses on “Do this and Do that”, not so much of, “Oh, someone has already done that for you, you may do this”. It’s like trying to attain a status with God, not knowing that the status has been attained by Jesus. To be honest, I still struggle with this every day. I don’t wake up every morning thinking: “You know what, today I’m going to be more like Jesus”. It’s a battle every day.
We become awaken to grace when we can fully trust that God is totally in control and we are simply caught up in what he is doing on planet Earth; Enjoying God to the fullest and bringing others to an enjoyment of him.
Stunned by God
How awesome is that? Oh, I know that you have that exam or that job you need to go to, but how awesome is the fact that you and I, regardless of what happens today or tomorrow, that God is in complete control and he let’s you and I be a part of what he’s doing.
The fact that you get to wake up.
The fact that you get to eat.
The fact that you get to breathe.
The fact that you get to walk.
The fact that you get to read.
The fact that you get to drink.
The fact that you get to sleep.
All of this is God’s grace to you and me, because he is in complete control.
Back in the early first Century, a group of Christians in the city of Corinth had an awesome church. but this church had issues. So the Apostle Paul writes to these people in Corinth that, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the Contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV) God’s grace totally fueled Paul to work for the Gospel, but he says “Hey guys, sure I worked hard, but guess what? It was the Grace of God that was with me that let me do this.”
That is a totally different spectrum. A completely different playing field.
How It Plays Out
Paul enjoys grace, because he was given grace through Jesus after the fact that Jesus completely changed his life forever through an encounter with him. That grace allowed him to work hard. But at the end of the day, when he’s in bed at night (Whatever a bed may be in 1st century Roman empire) he doesn’t say, “Paul you did all of that? Dang bro, you’re awesome!” Rather he says, “It was the grace of God that is with me.”
Many of us, we live to give ourselves credit at the end of the day. We say we “deserve” or “entitled” to being appreciated and applauded. But, I kept thinking about that, doesn’t that make us the center of our own life? I’ll be real with you, it is quite nice to have people applaud me, I feel special, I feel wanted, and somedays I feel needed. Honestly, It’s so tiring to make ourselves our own “thing”, I have to act like I have it all together all the time with all the people I know. Then Jesus steps in and through the cross he says, “I’ll be your life, let me take your shame when you didn’t have it all together, let me take your guilt when you lied about who you really were, and let me give you me!”
Today, will you take a step back from everything and just say, “I am not the point of the story of my own life, Jesus Is and I can gladly spend today enjoying so much of him that everything I do overflows in worship to him”. You and I get to play a part of joining Jesus where he is by simply enjoying the fact that we are not the point and Jesus is the point. No, we might not be perfect by doing this, but every ounce of effort you and I take towards this, I honestly believe that God honors even the attempt.
Enjoy today. The sun, the air you breathe, the sounds you hear, the ground you walk on, the water you drink, the food you eat. Through these things, enjoy your creator and loving Dad in Heaven.
Because at the end of the day, It’s All About Jesus.