As my brother came out of the room I assessed his demeanour, searching for clues that might reveal the mood of the revered and much loved man in that study.
“How did it go? Is he in a bad mood?” I asked.
“He’s not in the best of moods Segs. And you know your report is even worse than mine! Sorry mate. Good luck.”
Not exactly the reply I had been hoping for.
Although why I thought I might somehow get away scott free with a bad end of term school report is beyond me. Especially one in which my house master stated ” If Segun spent half the time he spends in the girls common room on his studies he would do extremely well.”
Let’s just say that as well as receiving one of the fiercest tongue lashings of my life (quote- “did I send you to school in the UK to chase girls?!!!”), the first two weeks of that holiday were not at all pleasant.
Indeed two weeks of school detention would have been far more preferable.
After precariously navigating my way through the numerous verbal missiles that were directed my way in those first two weeks of the summer holiday, I spent the following two weeks trying to get back into dad’s good books.
I’m sure many of you can relate with the above scenario. Well – maybe not the constant hanging out in the girls common room part – but you know what I mean.
Bad school report equals crappy holiday.
Good school report equals happy holiday.
This is how most of us have been raised.
It is what we are accustomed to.
The concept of reward and punishment is so ingrained in our mindset that not only is it a perfectly normal feature of our day to day interactions, but it is often the manner in which we relate with God.
Reward and punishment!!
Let me begin by asking a few questions.
When was the last time you had a worry free day?
When was the last time you weren’t anxious about whether or not God might be punishing you for something?
Do you often think that God will not answer a particular prayer because of a wrong / sin you committed in the past – or recently???
Before going any further I simply have to say this. Sorry, I’ve tried so hard to resist but I just can’t help it.
There’s going to be three new episodes of Star Wars!
Three new episodes!!!
Totally awesome or what??!!!!!
God must have read the article I wrote a few weeks ago.
Thank you God!!!
Thank you Mr. Lucas!
Thank you Walt Disney!
You can relax. I’m now back from Tantooine.
We spend half our lives worrying about so many things.
To make matters worse, because we spend most of our time wondering whether or not God is angry with us for something we did in the distant or recent past, our minds are forever preoccupied with designing strategies and formulas to earn His love – over and over and over again – stuck in a vicious cycle of always trying to get into God’s good books.
Is it any wonder why so many of us are mentally and emotionally exhausted???!!
‘Nor did He enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. ……..so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people;
Hebrews 9 vs 25 – 28
The bible tells us that Christ died once and for all – for all our sins – from the day we were born until the day we exit planet earth; that we who have accepted Him as our Lord and saviour do not have to do anything – works-wise – to earn the love of God; to earn our salvation!!!
Is it possible that the reason we struggle to accept this is because man was created to have dominion over all things?
In other words we are geared to overcome; to conquer; to accomplish.
We gain satisfaction and pleasure from doing things ourselves; from setting and achieving goals.
This is probably why we like nothing better than to fast and pray – to accomplish the glorious feat of not eating all day and being able to pray for hour upon hour!!
Praise the living Segs!!
Oops! Sorry, I meant ‘Praise the living God!’
The pride of successfully enduring a fasting period enables us to believe we have earned our righteousness; earned God’s love; earned our blessings – by our power, by our strength and in our own glory.
In other words we still believe that we must pay our ‘own’ price.
We seem to be telling Jesus on daily basis that the price He paid was not high enough; that we can pay a higher and better price.
For so long as we remain in this mindset we cannot enjoy the true victory and assurance of Grace.
For so long as we continue to believe that we must make certain sacrifices in order to obtain God’s love, our search for true rest will continue to be just that – a never-ending search.
Please don’t misunderstand me – even though I’m sure some of you are itching to.
I’m not saying that fasting and praying is not good.
But do we need to fast and pray to earn God’s love?
Do we need to fast and pray in order to be in right standing with God?
Must we keep checking our ‘performance’ account in order to ensure that the positives out-weigh the negatives? – so as to keep God happy???
If the answer is yes, then what was the point of Jesus’ death and resurrection??????