A couple of posts ago, we were introduced to the idea that perhaps "our fatigue is mostly driven by a confused perspective". What follows is some Good News for those of us who may have "lost our way a bit":
You know, if you think about christianity, there's a kind of paradigm we can use to kind of describe the way it's often portrayed: In this life our job is to do the best we can, to be as good as we can, because in the next life we're going to be rewarded for what we've done. Now I would argue that that's probably the way most christian people actually think about their religious life. The demand that you fulfill your existence.
[But John says that] When the Messiah comes, a different word is going to be given to you. It's a word that is actually going to do something. And it's not going to be something that depends on you. The winnowing fork is in His hand, John said. He will do the work.
But in order to see that, to know that, something must be given to us, and it's called faith. For the christian life, faith is what gives us access to the promise. That's why, for the christian, it is not the struggle with sin that is the hardest thing, it's the struggle to believe the promise. That's the hardest thing for a christian, to actually believe that I am forgiven for Christ's sake no matter what.
Faith is not a little bit of "well, you know, I'll just kind of hope that God will help and trust that maybe somehow He'll give me a little grace, and I'll somehow get a little better, and..." NONSENSE. Forget it. Throw it overboard. It aint gonna happen.
When the Messiah comes, and He starts baptizing, something is going to happen. The Holy Spirit is going to be given. A new life is going to be yours, and is yours. Now, you see, what this paradigm creates is a life that looks forward in hope, rather than one that looks forward in apprehension and uncertainty... Have I done enough? Have I believed enough? Have I loved enough? Do I have enough faith? This way of life looks forward and says I can dare to hope all things, believe all things, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Not because of what you've decided, not because of who you are, not because of how good you are or how bad you are. You are mine for Jesus' sake because I say so. And that is a formula for freedom and hope.
Now the christian can enter daily life, not seeing it as a burden and project to be performed, but as a gift to be lived, with all of its struggles and uncertainties, and joys and promises ... in the greater light of God's promise. Your sin is forgiven. Now, and always, for Jesus' sake. I mean that's the kind of word that just might get you smiling, looking forward, anticipating what's to come. Why, you might even want to call that GOOD NEWS, GOSPEL!