The Notorious Box-Checker

I love the delicious irony of life. My last post was entitled “The Quiet Life.”  I wrote about the three aspects of what it means to have a 1 Thessalonians definition of a quiet life.

1. Goal: Stay quiet–not keep busy. Mary, not Martha.
2. Focus: You and Jesus–not you and every other person, task, and duty in the world.
3. Work: Do things in your reach–not everything everywhere.

I’m literally chuckling as I re-read that post. My life has been anything but quiet for the last month. I was out-of-town three of the four weekends and helped my roommate move. I drove around 2,000 miles. I didn’t hear my pastor preach once, and I’ve got a screaming headache as I write this post.

None of that changes the fact that we should be focused on Jesus or that we shouldn’t try to be everywhere or do everything, but good grief. I can’t believe how amazingly unquiet my heart is, how unfocused I am on Jesus, and how much I’ve been zeroed in on my to-do list.  I’m so checked-box-oriented at the moment that when people asked me how I was at a party last night—I literally listed off everything I did on Saturday. (Partly complaining, partly bragging.)

This morning the pastor preached on Philippians 3, and he spent a lot of time talking about the concept of righteousness. He explained that everyone attempts to make themselves acceptable before themselves, before others, and even before God.

He asked the simple question: what do you look to—to make you acceptable?

Clearly, I have my answer. I look to my to-do list.  I have to keep doing, keep swimming, keep working to somehow feel like I’ve made it, that I’m ok, that I’m valuable.  I boast and glory—internally and externally—in my productivity.

Paul, in Philippians 3, says he “glor[ies] in Christ Jesus.”

My attitude towards life (including my desire for marriage) is if I don’t do it, no one will, and I have just enough tunnel vision to believe it.

What is Paul’s answer? What would Paul say about my productivity?

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ…

Christ has purchased me, and so, I meet the mark.

You have been bought with a price, and so, you are righteous. You are acceptable.

What are you looking to that will make you acceptable—either before God or others?

My prayer for you this week will be that you will be found in Christ, filled with His Holy Spirit, and be lacking nothing because of the incomparable inheritance you have in Christ.



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