I was being my happy self when I started singing a song we used to sing in Sunday school in Twi*. Translated in English, it goes like this:
God is here. God’s at home
God’s here. God’s everywhere.
If you sin, he’ll see, he’ll hear, he’ll write
If you sin, he’ll never bless you
In plain Twi and with no mincing of words, our teachers taught us these songs and we sang them happily knowing that we would probably sin the next minute and so according to the song, God would NEVER bless us. Ever. Scary! And that has formed an integral part of how the devil messes with us. He keeps reminding us of past errors and sins we’ve committed and tells us that we could not have possibly received forgiveness for a sin so great. It’s scarier because now when we do ‘good’, we expect blessings to come as a reward. And even though this makes a lot of sense, that isn’t what happens. I must admit that even up till now, it takes a conscious effort not to expect terrible things or ‘punishments’ to happen to me because I didn’t do my quiet time.
If this is the first time you’re being introduced to this, I understand if it might take a bit more absorbing but this is truth. Paul got upset with the people of Galatia because they were forgetting that the reason they became associated with Christ was through faith and not because they worked it out themselves.
“Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it?” (Galatians 3:2-4a, MSG)
So there it is. If we didn’t become daughters of Zion and sons of the Most High because we worked for it, we shouldn’t expect that what we do does what we think it does. Back to expecting good things when we do ‘good’, I believe it’s dangerous because it creates the idea of self-righteousness where we unconsciously become so judgmental and become the standard we think everyone should live by.
I’m using this explanation to set the basis for an argument I’m about to start. While watching TV with my mum one evening, she remarked that it was disheartening that people were sold a one-sided story of the gospel. So that when people became Christians, they only looked out for the blessings of Abraham and all the wealth that came with it forgetting that Abraham went through the test of being on the verge of sacrificing his son to prove his faith. What we tell them is: If you serve God, he’ll bless you. Period. And we sell more stories like:
If you stay pure, God’ll get you a (perfect) spouse.
Hear me somebody, God never said that. He’s asked us to stay pure because He delights in our purity and that our bodies are temples and so we should honour Him with it (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our satisfaction should be that even though we hope that God will bring us someone that He has groomed for us in perfect timing, that’s not why we do it for Him. Our relationship then grows from being children who are afraid of punishment to children who will do anything for a Father we love.
I realized that unconsciously I was thinking like this when I was Whatsapping a friend one time. Telling him that my husband better not be getting himself dirty when I was busy living pure for him, I was indirectly insinuating that God owed me a decent young man because I had worked for it.
I haven’t worked for it. And neither does He work like that. The most inspiring thing however is that, as long as we love Him, we can be sure that we’ll have the best there could ever be for us (Rom. 8:28).