Is God proud of you?
Why it's good to do the right thing while remembering you're a sinner.
Something I'm proud of is the goal I saved when I was playing Under 6's soccer. It was near the end of the game, we were down 10-0, and the coach decided to put me as our goalie for the last few minutes.
I remember the whole opposition team running at me, they had the ball. One of their guys took the shot, straight at my head! It hit me right in the nose, then bounced up over the goals. I fell down and cried (I was only 6), but I'd saved a goal. Apart from the tears, it was a proud moment!
Would God be proud of me?
I've got a cup that I think God would be pleased with. I got it at the end of my time in Year 6. My scripture teacher gave it to me - it was nicely wrapped up, and filled with chocolate! It was my reward for being the best behaved student in class that year!
Even better than that - I shared my chocolates with my mates. Only the whole class realised that I was sharing my chocolates, so they all took one. Within a few seconds, all my chocolates were gone and I didn't even get to eat one. I cried again (I was only 11), but then I thought 'that's ok, I've been really generous. God would be proud of me!'
How good am I?? Best student in scripture AND really generous!
Except when I read Ephesians, I realise that my cup and my generosity don't really count for much. Partly because even though I did those two good things, I've done heaps more bad stuff that far outweighs my few good things. For a year or so in High School, I told myself and anyone who would listen that God wasn't real. I did heaps of other stuff that God wouldn't be proud of.
Do good, but don't boast
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8, that it is "by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast."
When Jesus died on the cross, he took my punishment. And because he took my punishment, God can forgive. He does that because he loves me and because Jesus died for me - not because I'm good enough. That's what Paul means when he uses the word, 'grace'. Grace is a gift that we don't deserve. Grace is the gift of forgiveness and rightness with God, and all we have to do is accept that gift.
Don't misunderstand me - it's good to do good stuff. And that's exactly what God wants us to do. Paul even says that if we're following Jesus, God wants us to do good stuff as a way of saying thanks for saving us.
But what are you proud of? If you were to face God and he were to challenge you to produce a list of reasons why he should let you onto his team, would you go on about how good you were to your Year 6 scripture teacher? Or will you point to Jesus and the fact he's taken your punishment and offered you forgiveness?
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” —1 Corinthians 1: 28-31
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