Our hard work does nothing for us. You will never be able to put your best foot forward, clench your jaw, dig in, and buy your salvation with the sweat off your back. And we know this. Or at least we still say the clichés. But when faced with the idea that our “righteousness” is filthy rags to a Holy God, I’m not sure we fully comprehend the implications that this has. Often times, I think Christians get caught up in the idea that we should offer our “best” to God, but fail to realize why. It doesn’t actually do anything for us, after all. Let me put it this way: God is not more pleased with slightly more polished rubbish.
Allow me to use an equation. A number with no end is greater than zero, and also equally greater than 10, or 10 million. The same is true of perfection. God is infinitely perfect, and is thus superior to minor sin and atrocious sin equally. Thus we arrive at the conclusion that anything we do will fall short of God.
So what then? settle for mediocrity? The beauty of Christianity is that we are welcomed in our shortcomings and sins, if they are covered by Christ. And in a believers life, our “best” ceases to be that which we bring to God for acceptance, and becomes an act of worship. Biblical Christian worship is incredibly beautiful because it is seemingly unnecessary. God does not need us to worship Him to be glorified, and we can’t worship our way to a right standing with Him. True worship happens once the work is finished. Offering your life to God as a living sacrifice, your acceptable act of worship, is a sign that God has already pursued you, and is working in your life. Worship is a response to a gracious God; a God who we owe everything to, from our skills to our very breath.
Our relationship with God is lovely. It is the relationship of a Lover and His beloved, and is filled with acts of affection and adoration. We catch of glimpse of the great romance in marriage, when it is done right. A husband does not need to bring his wife flowers to be married to her. She does not need to remind him of the qualities she admires in him. They do not need to revisit why they got together, to stay together. But great marriages (or at least what I’ve seen of them. I’m unmarried and inexperienced in this field, so take my words with a grain of salt) are filled with work that is for, well, nothing. And that’s the funny thing about Love. It is illogical. We can’t possibly bring anything to God, but He welcomes our efforts, in the same way a Lover longs for the affections of His beloved.