At the time of year when everyone’s setting goals for the year and/or already feeling disillusioned with their resolutions, Jess and I stumbled upon something.
We have nothing to prove.
Not now. Not ever.
It’s counter-intuitive. We’ll probably forget tomorrow. We’re gonna have to fight for this one, really work to get it engrained on our minds and in our hearts – because it’s in our nature to try to earn whatever we think we have coming to us.
Our world tells us how sweet hard work is. It’s in our gym ads, in our motivational quotes on Instagram, in our songs about success:
They always tell me nobody’s working as hard as you
And even though I laugh it off, man, it’s probably true
Cuz while all of my closest friends out partying
I’m just here making all the music that they party to
– Drake, Light Up
And you know what? Hard work is awesome – when it’s for the right purpose, and that’s to glorify God and bring about His Kingdom. But we get it twisted, and work to elevate ourselves and build our own empires. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone – as I type away at my screenplays, not once does it occur to me that all this is for God’s glory, come wild success or crippling failure. Nope, it takes a week of frustrating efforts and desperate tears for me to come crawling back to God’s arms, confessing that I’ve idolized my career once again.
It’s a sad commentary on our priorities when if given the choice between exercising everyday vs. spending time with God daily, most of Christians really struggle to choose the latter.
Because deep down, I want to earn my worth and see the results. And God wants to free me from that fatal desire.
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. God helps those who help themselves.
It’s not wrong to have goals or want to improve ourselves. The Gospel itself is also about us becoming our best selves – but God’s power is the only way that reality comes into being. Everything else is idolatry, legalism, and vain striving. We often make the mistake of setting goals, then immediately focusing on the steps we need to get there.
But we should be focusing on the things that will get us in the right frame of mind, rather on the steps towards our goal. When we are full of peace, trust, contentment – we will see those next steps very differently. When we see things through God’s eyes, our perspective is reframed in dependence on His promise.
If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift.
– Romans 4:14-16, MSG
So, as we step into whatever phase of life comes next, may you not be anxious or consumed with the thought of earning your worth. You have nothing to prove.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
– Matthew 11:28