One thing that confused and concerned me about my New Life starting about a 1 month ago was this. When I got content, needing nothing I didn’t have, having no more fear, convinced of God’s unmerited blessing to me regardless of my behavior, believing/knowing I no longer needed to work to get/gain anything I didn’t already have. I had everything I wanted and needed. But I WONDERED IF I’D EVER BE “PRODUCTIVE” AGAIN!
See, I had always been a hard worker. But my hard work was largely motivated out of self-righteousness, pride and fear. Now that I embraced the Gospel of 100% Grace, I wasn’t afraid anymore and wasn’t interested in self-righteousness anymore. I thought that I might just become a lazy bum. I felt unmotivated to do my work. And that didn’t feel like the right thing in my heart. I also thought it would be hard for my wife, an extremely industrious person, to watch me “veg out”. Although concerned, I sensed that there was an answer to this riddle/concern of potential laziness that I didn’t have yet.
Well, guess what? A BIG SURPRISE (sarcasm)! I got the answer. This is so exciting to me. God’s Gospel keeps making sense more and more. Here I go with this answer. But, I have to give you God’s back-story before I proceed with describing “the answer”.
THE BACK-STORY OF ALL THIS
The New Covenant was God’s way of returning mankind to a pre-Fall state. Got that? When God originally created everything, He was very satisfied that it was “good”. The only risk to this was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good/Evil. If that fruit was plucked and eaten, man would come to know about the Good and Evil realities and, as a result, would be banished from Eden. So, as you know, they plucked, ate and departed the Garden and mankind has suffered in a non-paradise state ever since. Under “the curse”. You needed to understand this before I went forward. So, the Jesus Plan, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, was God’s way of returning people to how things were before The Fall.
BACK TO THE STORY ABOUT “WORK”
Now, before they were banished from Eden, A+E, although living in perfect bliss, they DID have work to do. God tells us that. But, (and here is where it starts to make sense) work was more like a hobby. Like “tending” rather than “slaving”. It was never done to get something they needed or wanted. Because everything A+E needed or wanted was provided for free. Work was done as the “perfect” activity. A+E WANTED to work. There was never any pressure of failure. There was never fatigue. They could stop anytime they wanted. And there was no rush to get it done. And they could choose what they wanted to do! Perhaps their “work” was similar to the way an oil-painter paints. In a sense, oil painting is work. But it’s the most enjoyable activity imaginable to the artist.
Anyway, just as I said in an above paragraph, the Jesus Plan was God’s way of getting us back to “Eden”. And that included getting back to how work used to be and was intended to be. Like how A+E worked and experienced their work. So when we “accept Christ” (or get converted or saved or whatever), work can (I’m using the word “can” for a specific reason but I’ll get back to that on another post) be transformed to be enjoyed as did A+E. And I found out that this is, in fact, what happened to me and am now experiencing. When I had come to understand and believe in 100% Grace, I began to experience work as they experienced it in Paradise.
So, I’m now doing my work as A+E did. I’m choosing what I want to do. I’m doing it when I want to do it. I do it for the joys of it – joys like interacting with precious people, challenging my mind to figure stuff out, and doing things that, if you take away all the pressures and pain we experience in the natural, worldly working world, are really very, very enjoyable activities. Much more enjoyable that watching TV and being a lazy person.
So…I’m finding myself more “productive” than ever. Because of learning about God’s 100% Grace, I find my mind sharper, my spirit calmer and MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH (etc.) happier which makes me a funner guy to work with. I work without fear of failure. I work without much “self-promotion”. I have abandoned the “people manipulation” that was so characteristic of me (I hid it well most of the time) before I knew about God’s 100% Grace and unmerited favor. I do my work as, say, a painter paints. I want to work. There’s nothing I’d rather do during the hours I choose to do it. (In fact, I find myself thinking I’m going to start making a lot of money again. I don’t really want the money very much. But, that comes along with all of this. I can find something to do with it.)
I’m back!!! I’m not a lazy man!! I’m working again and having more fun than I’ve ever had working. I can tell my relationships with others is better. . I can tell I’m much more confident. I feel much more effective. I’m even funnier! which isn’t saying much. And I’m so glad that I’m not concerned about laziness anymore. Yippee! Life just keeps getting better.
Post Script – If this doesn’t raise many follow-on questions for you, then you either have fully understood this even before you reads this post. Or you don’t really care about all this so you have no questions.
So, regarding all the other questions you may have: Mere words, like I’ve written here, are very imprecise, very limited in their ability to convey Truth accurately and in its entirety. But, I ponder and consider all those questions of God’s 100% Grace all the time (one of my types of “work” that is very joyful for me now) and would have either good answers to questions raised or will tell you that I haven’t understood this or that matter yet. I won’t BS you.
If you were a close friend or family member of mine, you’d notice I have an unusual “quirk”. When I’m not talking TO anyone (at least anyone visible) you’d often see me, with a noticeable trace of a smile on my lips, shake my head back and forth like I’m saying in my mind to someone, “Wow I just can’t believe it!!! I’m amazed!!!”. You may ask me why, from time to time, as you look across the room, you see that familiar shaking of head but while I’m not talking to anyone you can see. Well, what is going on there is that I’m re- thinking, remembering and re-appreciating some part of God’s Truth. And in those moments, I am just so dang AMAZED and JOYFUL in my private thoughts that my head shakes in disbelief You’ve heard the expression, “…shaking his head in disbelief”? That goes on with me all day long.
I wonder what is then next part of the Gospel of 100% Grace will land on me next. It just keeps getting better and better and Truer and Truer.