Applying vs. Receiving


As men and women we are perpetually drawn to our own works. We find value in that which we can accomplish, get done, or finish in a single day. Productivity is at the heart of every business place revolution or idea. Even within the realm of Christendom it is easy to be drawn into this mindset. We mine the Word of God looking for that new tool to add to our spiritual work belt. We listen for the new spiritual tip to add to our list of “do’s” or to remove from our list of “do not’s.” This practice is exciting at first, but difficult, and often frustrating, to sustain.

Like the rich young ruler, we even draw near to Christ and ask the “what must I do to be (insert your desire here)?” How can I be a better husband? Neighbor? Mom? Worker? Church-goer? But the Kingdom of God is not so much interested in an economy of doing and applying as much as it is in a declaration of what has been done.

Often when we talk of the things of God we find ourselves saying things like “I need to do this more,” “believe this better,” or “apply that more faithfully.” I frequently find myself here. That is, seeking to see the Son of God as a commodity to be applied rather than a person to be received.

Sometimes it isn’t the heinous sin or the socially-derided habit that speaks against us but our focus on our “goodness” or socially-acceptable mindset that condemns our conscience.

Jesus invites us to better.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

When the Son of God invites us to rest from sin/work/our own merit He does so continually. The foot of the cross was a never meant to be a launch pad into greater or more “victorious” Christian living devoid of rest but rather a haven for the weary, a well for the thirsty, and a bed for the restless.

Jesus isn’t a tool we use, a tip we apply, or an application we implement, Jesus is a person we receive. The only application in the life of the Christian is that which Christ does to us. His righteousness for our sin, His life for our death, His perfection for our mess. Jesus pronounces sonship over our orphaned-by-sin state, and declares us righteous based off of His own merit. As God draws us near through His word and comforts us through His ordinary means, we are not invited into a life of application, but a state of receiving the good gifts of Jesus everyday.

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