It's about "BEING" not "DOING"
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.– Romans 5:1-5
Our American culture tends to celebrate what we do. When we meet new people we tend to immediately ask, “What do you do?” We interpret value in the skills people have. When I was in the military the way many officers left their mark was to immediately identify a need or project and give it their all so by the end of the tour you had a clear accomplishment hopefully worthy of recognition in your fitness report or even as justification for a medal.
The point is that as a culture we celebrate the accomplishments of people by focusing on what they do. Perhaps this emerges out of a history of explorers, frontiersmen, soldiers, slaves and immigrants who in every season of our nation's journey have overcome great levels of adversity and with great spirit, sacrifice and courage forged a future for themselves and the generations behind them. That spirit of pick yourself up by the bootstraps permeates deep within our social psyche and this is why we love rags to riches narratives. In them we celebrate the spirit of overcoming adversity and we believe that “doing” or “achieving” is what makes the individual special.
Now comes along Christianity, which has been part of the spirit of this nation, but it teaches a very different philosophy of life. Yet somehow we have syncretized our works orientation with the work of the Gospels. Yet, in scripture we are not called to achieve great challenges against sin in our lives. We are not called to love one another, seek justice, and transform the world in order to achieve a good place with God.
I meet people almost everyday who believe they are in a struggle to do good things so that they may please God. They want to achieve because they believe they are in the struggle of their life to get God’s attention and so they take on giants like addiction, poverty, relationship crisis and personal dissatisfaction. In my understanding, this is akin to the story of David putting on Saul’s armor to attempt and confront the giant Goliath. It is no wonder so many people feel defeated, exhausted and inept before God.
The wonderful news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are called to enjoy the freedom of being in God because of the work Jesus did on the cross. We are granted grace, meaning we don't have a right to be present before God yet we are allowed access, and this access is not restricted but we are granted a first class ticket to have access to God.
Here is the amazing thing about this. The works that the bible speaks of, in particularly Paul’s words in Romans 12, they are not a list of requirements for access to God but instead they are a list of evidences of what happens when we take advantage of that free access. In other words, loving our neighbors is not what gets us into heaven. Loving our neighbors is what emerges when God is living in our hearts.
For this “genuine love” of Romans 12: 9 that gives way to all of the other actions listed in this chapter are the result of the work of Jesus Christ in and for us. Therefore we are called to “be” Christians and not "to do" Christianity. We have to stop trying so hard to replicate the works of Jesus in ourselves. In its place we have to learn to get out of the way, allow the spirit of God to reign in your heart freely and then allow the Spirit to lead you in being the hand and feet of Jesus
This begins with the simple act of faith in accepting what Jesus has already done for you. When we accept this as real and genuine we will begin to see the evidences of the Holy Spirit working deep within us. This transformation calls on us to allow the Spirit of God to move us into life with different perspectives, motivations and desires.
In place of being desirous in the flesh to consume others in sexual desire, in political power or financial fleecing we learn to see others as the children of God and we wish to see them transformed, brought into the Kingdom of God, and we love to see them grow and be successful in their lives because the love of God exists in us to edify one another and not compete with each other.
It is exhausting to pursue a life of “doing” when you are depending on your own strength, resources and talents to achieve Godly things in this broken realm. However, when we get out of the way and stop trying to do but instead allow ourselves to “be” present in the company of Jesus we will soon learn that His words were very real when he said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Back off of the doing and start being in Christ and let him show you what it means to be born again in this world.