faith, Life

Checklist Christianity

I am not a checklist. 

Preparing for Sunday services recently, I was trying to make sure I was doing everything right.

As a Type A perfectionist do-everything-right kind of gal, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a step. I once heard a pastor say, “preparation is the key to manifestation”.

That’s me alright. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Be prepared!

It Is Finished! Redemption is finished. Grace is finished.

*

Since November, I’ve been going through a leadership course at church. Some may think it silly for a long-time Christian to go through a course like that, but I’m of the mindset that there is always more to learn.

I did everything I was asked to do.

That’s pretty much my M.O. Ask me to do something and I will make sure it gets done. Give me a task and I do it to the best of my ability.

I can be very task oriented when I need to be.

But, as I was going through “the steps” to prepare, I heard the following:

I am not a checklist God.

Umm…gulp!

No way that was God. Right? No way.

I am not a checklist that you can just tick the boxes to make sure you’re doing everything right. I am not a box on your checklist. I am God. 

So…how has your life been going lately???? Kidding.

I joke because those words were a wake-up call. 

Well, I thought they were a wake-up call. Considering this post was originally started about a month or so ago. I thought I understood what it meant. I had REVELATION so I could go on with my life. 

Ha! 

*

Our church began a series on “Grace” this past Sunday. 

Did I mention I had REVELATION?

Yeah, well, perhaps not about the checklist God concept. At least, not until I started writing this post again yesterday.

Being that it is Easter season, I began to dwell on the words of Jesus on the cross, within the context of this idea of “grace”.

Below is what I felt compelled to write as I thought about His words. 

It Is Finished!

Redemption is finished.

Grace is finished.

God doesn’t require us to reach a new level of grace that needs to be achieved or reached. Sin is sin. While the consequences of sin may bring about different levels of hurt or pain, to God it’s sin. It’s all the same.

God’s grace doesn’t require a bigger nail or thorn. More lashings aren’t required of you. No more penance needs to be paid. There isn’t a checklist or “honey-do list” for you to complete before God gives you grace.

Jesus did it. He endured the cost of grace already. That sin we do tomorrow, next week or next year, God already took care of it. As God spoke, “I Am”. He just….IS. All of His attributes…they just ARE. Grace just IS

As Brennan (one of our pastors) preached last week, that doesn’t give us license to freely sin. It does give us the opportunity to repent when we come face-to-face with our sin, no matter how big or small.  

Grace is finished.  

Now think of a moment that could – or should – have wrecked you. By all rights, you should’ve been (whatever – enter your own moment here). In my case, I should’ve been dead.  

BUT GOD.  

Sin separates us from God. Nothing humanity ever did nor is doing nor will ever do could make it things right with God, our creator, again.  

BUT GOD  

God intervened through His son, Jesus Christ. Through the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross – those nails, that cross, that crown of thorns – the blood brought us back to where we belonged. In relationship with God, unblemished & untouched by sin.  

The devil would like nothing more than for us to look at ourselves in the mirror or, in today’s world, at our selfie pose and see all of our sin and flaws. He wants us to tick the boxes on our Sin Checklist. The more we focus on the things we do/did, the less our eyes can be focused on things above.  

BUT GOD  

God is not a checklist God. There aren’t a long list of “honey-do’s” for you to complete.

The devil, on the other hand, does want you to focus on a checklist.

  • Lying
  • Cheating
  • Apathy
  • Unbelief
  • Unresolved anger
  • Doubt
  • Stealing
  • Rejection
  • Manipulation
  • Pride
  • Arrogance
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Abandonment
  • Selfishness
  • Worthless
  • Hopeless
  • Depressed
  • Isolated

Satan speaks these lies to us and we check the box –  “You were pretty selfish today.” OR “You were rejected.” OR, one of the all-time favorites, “You don’t deserve it.” 

We check the box as if it’s an “accomplishment” in today’s BUSY world – “I’m so selfish” OR “I’m so prideful” OR “I’m so depressed.” He keeps speaking those things to us and we continue to check them off the list each day.

BUT GOD

God doesn’t have a checklist, although we tend to give Him one. We think we have to do all of these things to make ourselves be right with or accepted by God.

  • Pray
  • Read the bible
  • Study the bible
  • Witness to someone at the store
  • Witness to someone at work
  • Witness to someone at the game
  • Witness to someone at (fill in the blank)
  • Sing hymns
  • Sing psalms
  • Defend “our” rights
  • Speak out against the evils of this world
  • Walk out each day like the perfect Christian God wants

SAY WHAT???

BUT GOD

If God has a checklist, there is only item to check off

  • Jesus

In Jesus, there is

  • Freedom
  • Hope
  • Redemption
  • Identity
  • Security
  • Rest
  • Comfort
  • Joy
  • Belief
  • Restoration
  • Love

And, grace.

*

I wish I could say I have this whole “Christian” thing down. I don’t. I don’t know if I ever will. But, I do know this. 

I am a better person for knowing God. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect or I always make the best choices — I don’t. Life throws curve balls –  more like beanballs sometimes. People may drive me crazy or I drive them crazy. Sometimes, bad stuff happens and I can’t figure it out. I may not always get everything on my TO-DO list done. 

BUT GOD

When I turn my heart and mind toward Him, I find peace even in the darkest and most turmoil-filled storms of life.

It’s hard to explain it in words. It just simply…is. 

Check (no pun intended) that. 

He..just simply..is.

***

Knees Down, Prayers Up

Sunny