A few articles ago I mentioned being ashamed of myself at 23-for my wayward thoughts.
During the moving process to seminary, not only did I discover that I thought myself to be better than others (utterly embarrassing)...I also discovered that I apparently believe in the "prosperity gospel."
The prosperity gospel is a false gospel. It's a gospel that says that good things happen to good people, always. It says that if you believe enough and do enough good things for God, then you can expect God's blessings in all things.
At that moment in my life, if you would have asked me if I believed in the prosperity gospel, I would have scoffed at even the notion and responded with an emphatic NO.
However, as I examined my heart. I uncovered not only my self-righteousness but that I had also slipped into the idea that I deserved a golden path, a painless path, simply because I had dedicated myself to following the "rules".
I somehow had thought that I should have had a straight path to success after college. That I would graduate, find a job, and then move up the pay scale...just. like. that.
This is wrong and very faulty thinking.
Unfortunately, I think I am not alone into falling into this belief. It's a slippery slope of thinking that if you do good for God then He will always do good for you- a quid-pro-quo.
The truth is that God doesn't need our "good works." He doesn't desire our sacrifices and religious rituals. They have their place....but it is not something He desires in and of themselves.
Micah 6:7 & 8 "Would the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousand streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the child of my body for my own sin? Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you:to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God."
Other translations say this: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
ACT JUSTLY- aka-do the right thing
LOVE MERCY-aka-have compassion and humility toward others
WALK in HUMILITY with GOD-aka-acknowledge that He is sovereign over all, and that my attempts at doing right or at in being "right with God" are NOT about manipulation-trying to get my way-but truly trying to KNOW God.
This is what God truly desires.
Hosea 6:6 "For I desire loyalty and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
Seeking God- HIM the person- not the rituals.
Psalm 51:16-17 "You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart."
A proud heart says that we don't need God. A humble heart acknowledges our need and desperately yearns for Him. A broken spirit is a repentant spirit.
I spent most of my year in seminary in a repentant state. I honestly feel that is why God led me there. I'm not sure my eyes would have been opened any other way. I needed my haughtiness to be exposed and to realize that I had relegated my relationship with the Lord to a mere quid-pro-quo.
A quid-pro-quo says "I'll scratch your back, if you'll scratch mine."
Or as a religious person might say..."God, I'll do this for you, if you do this for me."
Does God really NEED anything from us? Is there really ANY favors we can perform for God?
A quid-pro-quo relationship is not what God wants.
It has never been about actions; it's always been about our hearts. He wants us to want Him.
In fact, heaven isn't so much a place or a reward as it is a reunion. If my expectation of heaven doesn't have spending time with Jesus in it then I'm going to be sorely disappointed.
I share all this to beg the question. Where is your heart?
Are you living in a quid-pro-quo relationship, or are you walking humbly with your God?
Don let quid-pro-quo be your status quo.