Obstacles. This whole chapter made me think of obstacles. The specific one here is circumcision. There was a ton of debate about whether or not it was required for salvation. It could’ve become an obstacle to people outside the Jewish community coming to faith. Thank goodness it didn’t. The leaders all agreed that God offers salvation, with or without circumcision, solely through the grace of Jesus.
But then the Lord turned that around on me, and he really pressed in on me about the obstacles I create. I know that I’m saved by grace. I really do. But I continuously try to put all kinds of added conditions on myself.
I need to read the Bible more.
I need to pray more.
I need to give more.
I need to serve people more.
I need to be a better person.
I am my own worst critic, and sometimes I get stuck in these cycles of trying harder and harder to please God with the things I do and the way I live.
But here’s the thing: nothing I do will make God love me more, and nothing I do will make him love me less.
All those things I listed a minute ago are nothing but obstacles when I’m doing them to earn God’s love. I will constantly feel like I’m not measuring up, and they will actually push me away from him rather than bring me closer to him.
But… if I do those things IN RESPONSE TO the infinite love he’s already shown me, that’s a different ballgame. If I really, truly accept the grace that Jesus offers, I will pray and study and give and serve because of how much he loves me, not to manipulate him into loving me more.
Nothing I do will make God love me more, and nothing I do will make him love me less.
I don’t deserve it.
I can’t earn it.
But I can sure respond to it.
And I can stop creating obstacles to it.
Saved by grace.