You Are God's Planting
One of the troubling truths about a religion is the strive to please a deity or a belief that is beyond the individual. Now I'm not saying that it is a bad thing, it's just that religion usually takes it too far. Some of the radicals in a particular religion even go to the extent of killing themselves and others in the process just to please a religious tradition.
Some Christians did so many terrible things in the past due to traditions set up in the dark ages (which was a hoax to please a deity - definitely not God). They ended up pleasing the selfish pleasures of the religious leaders rather than God Himself.
This wasn't new, even at that time. Many prophets complained about, especially Jeremiah and Isaiah. Jesus complained about it against the religious leaders of his time. Let me show one example in the scriptures:
“But Jesus put it right back on them. “Why do you use your rules to play fast and loose with God’s commands?
God clearly says, ‘Respect your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.’
But you weasel around that by saying, ‘Whoever wants to, can say to father and mother, What I owed to you I’ve given to God.’
That can hardly be called respecting a parent. You cancel God’s command by your rules. Frauds! Isaiah’s prophecy of you hit the bull’s-eye: "These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they’re worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy.””
(Matthew 15:3-9 MSG)
The religious leaders of their day gave them the right to dishonor their parents. The money that would have been used to bless their parents were rather instructed to be given to them (religious leaders) with the claim that it was being given to God at the expense of the suffering of their parents. This is cruel. But can we see traces of this even today?
All these was because of religion manipulating its people to please God by pleasing men; and by men, I mean their leaders.This why people suffer terrible guilt when they commit sin. Sin is not good. Yes. We all know that. But there's something in the body of man that draws them to do such acts. Self control is essential, however, it cannot be mastered in a day.
God Understands More Than We Think
What's more important is that, unlike most religious men, God understands all these. Heck, He knew that without Him working good in man, man cannot but yield to sin. The common phrase we use in our religious circles:
"... work out your own salvation." This phrase continues with God's own agenda:
“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:13 NASB)
God works in us both to DO and even to WILL. Yet, He understands the tendency of man to fail because of the lusts of his body (Galatians 5:16-17). John even stated the reality of the Christian walk in his epistles:
“If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.”
(1 John 1:8-10 MSG)
Let me put this in plain terms; We are meant to strive for perfection. However, we all make mistakes, and God understands that. We should learn to accept that too.
Planted For Good Works
It's ultimately inspiring to know that God created us for good works (Ephesians 2:10). For that cause He works in us to help us achieve it. Isaiah's prophecy about the work of Christ spoke of us as God's very own planting, His trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3).
As a good farmer, He doesn't just put the seeds into the soil and neglects them to work things out for themselves; and then come sometime later for His yield. It may seem so, but that's actually quite the contrary. He nurtures His plants, presents to us various conditions for our own growth and understands that it takes time for us to grow and mature. We may make a mistake here and another there; but He knows we are definitely growing. If we let Him, He will nurture us well enough to produce good fruits unto His glory.
Let us not take this gesture for granted. On the other note, let us not strive so hard in order to please God, religiously. We are His workmanship, His beloved, His planting, His trees of righteousness. Let's put away that burden of guilt and so much work; and allow Him to nurture and work in us. In the right time, we will produce good fruits much to our own surprise. Let go and let God take over. You are the planting of the Lord. Let Him, as a good farmer, do His job and nurture us unto good works.