Do you know any, or would you perhaps consider yourself to be, a football fan? How do you know that this person is a fan? Do you have to search hard for clues in order to determine that they love the game? Do they keep a checklist of duties, such as buying tickets to games, talking about football for a prescribed number of minutes per day, or reading football blogs and magazines?
What Drives Action?
If a person doesn’t do these works out of duty or off of a checklist, what does cause them to spend their time in such ways? It is this: they simply love the game. Perhaps it is the thrill of victory when all seems lost, or maybe the sounds of a roaring crowds and clashing helmets. But whatever the origin of their love of football, that is the driving force behind their actions and activities. Their cubicle walls are plastered with team memorabilia and they talk of their favorite team at every opportunity precicely because this sport is their passion.
The Long-Term Investment
Now, what does all this have to do with living a thriving life? We just described devotion to a fun and enjoyable activity, but consider this: what is the ultimate end of this pursuit? One hundred years from now, all the players we idolize now will be dead and gone. All of the games will have been forgotten, save perhaps an entry in a museum. While all this distraction occupies our time, the One who made the earth, grass, and sky under which the game is played stands by ignored and forgotten. Oh, perhaps every now and again we’ll toss a “good work” his way, maybe out of guilt, duty, or in order to check it off our list, but like Cain’s sacrifice, our Lord does not find these things pleasing. But imagine if we were to commit ourselves to Jesus the way so many commit themselves to football! What if we loved Him the way fanatics love the game?
An Overflow of the Heart, Not a Checklist
You see, God does not want a checklist of works from us. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died a gruesome death in order to pay the penalty that our sin created for us. He is the one who has done the good work, not us. Our responsibility is only to accept the gift of grace he freely offers, turn from our sin and turn to Jesus. In so doing, God will confer upon us new life, and a new self capable of loving Him every bit as much as the most committed fan loves football. It is from this place that our good works will naturally flow, just as a true fan naturally buys tickets, watches games, and talks about his team. Will you decide today to turn from your own way and follow Jesus? Commit your whole heart to Him, and watch as he transforms every area of your being from death into life.