The other day the Lord prompted my heart to something that I hadn’t thought of before. He gave me the idea to give my sister, Holly, $1000 the day she graduated if she didn’t have sex, drink, or smoke her senior year. I thought that this was a minor sacrifice on my part because I know the importance of this is priceless. Then I got to thinking that it would be hard for me to know if she did these things, but I would trust her. If she just tried, that would be enough because I would know her intentions were right. Then I thought, well maybe I shouldn’t name specifics (sex, alcohol, drugs etc) but just say that I would give her $1000 is she remained pure. I could give her some Bible verses that speak about remaining pure and let her decide. The Lord showed me something so valuable that I have never seen.
If Holly would ask me, “Well is oral sex okay, or how far is too far?” or “What about drinking but not getting drunk?” or “What does smoking include?” We always ask those questions, but in truth they are not leading us towards God. By asking what the least amount of work we can do is, or the most amount of sin we can allow, but still get the prize ($1000/salvation/relationship with God), that is not honoring God. God doesn’t always give us specifics, but he does give us guidelines. We are to remain pure; we are to remain in love with him. There are many things that can distract us from this goal, but it is what we are called to do.
Whenever we are faced with a decision, the question we must ask is, “Is this honoring God? And is this drawing me closer to him?”
God will always forgive us. He will always believe in us. And we still get the prize as long as we believe in him and try. Parallel this with Holly: I will not rip away the prize if she screws up. But I will encourage her to do what is right. I will give her second, third, and hundredth chances as long as she diligently tries. When we are given this kind of unconditional prize, the reaction most people would have would be to say, “Great. Now that I know that I can’t lose it, I can still do whatever I want and still get the prize.” But as Christians we must think differently. After being given something this great, how can we not respond in any way less than all that we have? We can’t just do what it takes to barely get by.
We must submerge ourselves into the most passionate love story of our lives.
There is something about this unconditional love that intrigues us. Why would someone love me that much and show so much mercy when I screw up? I don’t deserve to get the prize after screwing up so many times, yet he still gives it to me with as much enthusiasm and belief in me than ever before. It’s like the prodigal son story. The father rejoices and gets the best things ready for the son. He didn’t deserve it. He had been off sinning and didn’t care about his father. The older brother obeyed all of the rules and of course the father loved him; but he loved them both equally. We can’t change the way God feels about us. We are his children. We are saints, the chosen ones.