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I Have Decided to Placate Jesus

praying_on_bibleThe lure of convoluted systems of religion would seem ridiculous if they weren’t so subtle, but once you’re down the rabbit hole, so to speak, like Alice in Wonderland, you’re faced with a new reality and you adapt.

I have certainly fallen into the trap of ceasing to follow Jesus and trying instead to merely placate Him. I wanted to make Him happy, but slowly the motivation shifted to proving I could do it, to controlling myself or my environment.

I was going to beat sin.

The more sin bested me, the more I wanted to overcome it. And like the semi-allegorical character in the new book we’re discussing, The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, I found myself in the “Room of Good Intentions.” A mask was firmly on my face even though I still performed all the ministry functions I had previously.

As I get closer, I can see there’s writing in bronze lettering across the front: STRIVING HARD TO BE ALL GOD WANTS ME TO BE. Finally. Something for me to do. I strive after success in my career. I strive after keeping fit. Why would it be any less with God? I draw closer and notice a door. Above the doorknob, a small, ornate plaque is bolted to the heavy wooden door. SELF-EFFORT it reads. Of course! God does His part, and I do mine. It’s about time someone said it. –The Cure, by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall.

The man had traveled down a path looking to please God, and he thought he found the way to do it. Self-effort and determination. You just need boundaries and a few rules in place so you’ll be safe from sin and close to God.

It’s all a terrible lie.

Even though I know better, I still fell into the trap of believing God had left me to work everything out on my own. I wish I could say this was years ago, but I’m talking less than a couple months.

I think we’ve believed too strongly that sin separates us from God. For sure, before the Jesus bore a cross and died on behalf of everyone and their sin–it did separate. But what about this verse? Do you believe it?

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38-39

Sin can be in your present or even your future. Can it separate you from His love? Paul says here nothing will be able to separate. And I know how scary that sounds and how religious arguments flood in to say, “well, if you believe that then you can keep on sinning and it doesn’t matter.”

But I don’t want to keep on sinning! That’s why I went through the hell of trying to force myself into submission and rules. You may have been there too. Grace is the only thing that makes a difference.

He didn’t ask you to overcome sin to be close to Him. He invites to get close to Him. Period.

Forget sin. Forget failure. Forget striving to please and placate a Savior far removed because you think He’s angry. Receive His love. Nothing can separate you if you choose to allow Him in.

Can you identify? Do you struggle at times with living in grace and buying into good intentions?


cure2Welcome to week 1 of Chapter 1 discussion of The Cure (disclosure) by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Once again, we’ll be taking 2 weeks per chapter as these are dense and thought-provoking words. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

6 Comments

  1. Because I lived so many years outside of grace and in law, it was a big struggle to get out. Every once in awhile it rears its ugly head, sometimes not so much with me but with my expectations of others. I hate it when that happens. Thanks Jason.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..WorshipMy Profile

    • I know what you mean, Bill. And I have had this reignited in me over and over again. God has made His word and grace deeply personal to me, yet I can still walk away and try to fix things on my own. That’s why I really like this book--shows these truths in such a visual way. I’m going to have a hard time forgetting it, and that’s a great thing! Thanks Bill.

  2. Yeah There seems to be a wall in between grace and good intentions, and I never know which side to be one. I think though that grace should spill over into good intentions, but that’s just me! Good article that requires deep thought.
    Ed recently posted..Beyoncè and Jay-ZMy Profile

    • Ed, I’m finding out more and more, it’s got to be grace first. Good intentions don’t lead to grace, but His grace does indeed transform us and lead to action. I’m thinking and praying with you, brother! Thanks so much, Ed.

  3. I was always told in a very colorful manner that good intentions didn’t get ya anything.

    God doesn’t want our good intentions. He wants us to walk trustingly with Him, and as we do that, good will happen.

    Sounds so easy errr it types so easy… Now if only I could live it so easily and not get seduced by good intentions.

    • And if ‘good intentions’ came with a label or a warning, that would be nice too! I never would have thought it was good intentions until I come back broken and recognize that only grace can make the difference. Trusting in Him--that’s it. Thanks Dusty.

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