“Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes”
There exists a mentality among Christian believers where our faith will somehow grant us a pile of ‘nice things.’ This concept tells us that material possessions are a sign of His blessing. If we just have enough faith, we will truly live in a land of wonder, grace and material blessings.
Doing missions work in a very poor town in Mexico, I was horrified to find this twist. (I had thought that it wouldn’t really work among the desperate.) But an especially virulent type was working in the hearts of some of my brothers and sisters. They latched on to this idea that since they followed God that soon they could count on special favors from Him. (Like a car, electricity, running water.) Some ‘converted’ just to get these things from God! I refuse to judge them, since I see a variation of this in my own life.
From their cardboard shacks, they could somehow generate a special favor from the Lord. It came as a relief to me that there were some believers, who over time, began to see that grace was really an undeserved gift; material blessings could never come in this way. God’s grace alone would make them wealthy!
Somehow, we can get confused and believe that if we jump through the right hoops God is obligated to give us what we want. But the true Kingdom doesn’t work like this, you can’t use Him in this way. Grace was never meant to ‘decorate’ a believer (least not primarily) but to mend us, to prepare the fallen for eternity. God is not your cosmic bellhop.
Listen! God’s grace is given to heal us. It is a gift, and it will always be a gift. We don’t deserve it, we don’t earn it for having enough faith. Grace isn’t supposed to be like this, rather it’s more like an I.V. to a dying man. It is dialysis to the woman with kidney failure. It is ‘radiation’ to the cancer patient.
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?”
(Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)
Grace comes to us because we are so very sick. We are deeply affected by a spiritual disease. We should think (rather than see it as a reward) that it is the treatment for that which has deeply sickened us. His love is seen, especially seen, in the worst of us. That’s the way grace works.
God is not against us because of our sin; He is with us because of our sin.
Just thinking out loud here. I hope I haven’t offended.
Your desperately “sick” brother,