I know that it’s almost Christmas, and it’s all very exciting. What do you think of when someone says Christmas? My Psychology teacher asked a class of 300 students this question and they answered: Santa Claus, presents, cookies, tree, lights, milk, music, and etc., and it made me wonder why we all loved Santa Claus.
Santa gives us presents when we are good; however, he gives us nothing or a pack of coals when we’re bad. Now my other question is, why do we love Santa so much when someone gave us a better gift even though we didn’t deserve it? That’s right. I’m talking about Jesus (No one called out His name at the mention of Christmas, which I thought was very sad since He started it). It was only three days ago when I learned the real meaning of grace. Grace has been thrown around in Church a lot, but I never quite understood its meaning. Grace basically means unmerited favor. Jesus gave up His life even when we did not deserve it. A lot of people were on His naughty list, but He decided to give everyone a present anyway. It’s like a good boy giving his present to someone who got the coals, the latter didn’t deserve the present but he was given a kindness anyway. I think we lost the whole point of Christmas by thinking it’s all about Santa, so I think it’s about time that I should share you something about Jesus.
What I’m about to share is something I just learned a week or two ago.
Growing up, I always thought that there was some kind of equation to get to heaven. Something like: Go to Church + Pray the rosary + Be good = Heaven, but after reading books and watching videos, I came to realize that I was so wrong. Thinking you could earn Heaven would be the reason why you won’t reach it. You cannot earn Heaven. None of us deserve Heaven, but then Jesus came and paid for all of our past, present, and future sins 2000 years ago. Let me elaborate.
I used to do good things out of guilt or to just clear my conscience. I sometimes felt forced into doing things that are good so that I may get God’s approval. And so, I was baffled when they first told me that going to Church is not equal to heaven because I thought that’s how Christians did it. They go to Church, pray the rosary, and be good neighbors, but I realized that I missed the entire point. The reason they did all those things was not so they could earn heaven, but because they loved Jesus.
I thought I was a follower of Christ all throughout my life–I know the names of His apostles, I know the parables, I know the prayers, but I came to realize that I was only just a fan. I didn’t know Jesus at all. I was close enough to have the benefits of being a Christian, but I was not close enough to actually have Jesus interfere with my life. I didn’t know Him personally. I have been trying to do so many good things because I thought that’s what Christians had to do to get to heaven, and it has left me throughly exhausted acting this way and that. But Jesus came into the picture and said, “Let go and leave it up to me.”
The bottom line is: The reason why we do good things, go to Church, and read the Bible is because we love Jesus. We do things out of love and out of our own freedom. We express our love by going to Church. We do not have to try to earn Heaven because Jesus already did that for us, so the reason why we pray and read the Bible is because we love what He did. When I realized this, I didn’t feel burdened anymore. I wanted to do good things because I felt so loved by what Jesus did for me, someone who should have received the coals.
Think of it as a bank account. Our accounts are way below negative. We are in billions of debt. We try to earn money so that we can pay the debt. We try to pay and pay and pay, but we can never quite reach it. We become tired of trying to pay. We think we could do it ourselves…but we can’t. How would you react when Jesus suddenly comes in and pays for your whole debt? Just like that. Up until a few days ago, I was trying to pay that debt. I was in charge of my life and thought that I could possibly pay the entire debt by working and working, but as much as I worked I still couldn’t pay the debt, I only grew tired. Jesus came into my life and made my debt go away, and so I found freedom and love. The same thing goes with eternal life. We think we could earn heaven by being good and by going to Church, but Jesus already paid our way in.
Here’s another analogy: Pretend you’re married to Jesus. You clean the dishes, do the laundry, clean the house not so you could earn Jesus, but because you love Him.
People sometimes think, “Okay. So if Jesus paid for my future sins, what’s the point of me not sinning?” The thing is, people who say this don’t exactly know Jesus. They don’t have a personal relationship with him. They think they know everything there is to learn about Him (they know where He lived, who His parents are, who His apostles are, etc.), but they don’t know him. I’m not saying that I do, I have been in a Catholic school all my life, but I admit that I barely know Him as a person (I did ask that same question after all). It all comes down to making a personal relationship with Him. When I understood this, I was like, “WHOA. Epiphany moment. I’ve been doing it all wrong.” Now, I’m trying my best to recommit my life to my Savior, Jesus.
So are you trying to pay your own debt? Or is Jesus paying it for you? Or a better question yet, would you want to make a personal relationship with Him?
If you guys want to check out the book that made me understand this, check out “Not A Fan,” by Kyle Idleman. I also watched this video if you want to check it out. I think it’s about time God found you, too.
23 more days before my Savior’s born.