“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
Does your spiritual life consist of a series of checkmarks? Sunday school and worship, check. Bible reading and praying, check. Being nice to that “not so nice” person, check. While those are all good things, do you find yourself wondering if “checking those boxes” is all there is to the Christian life?
The gospels tell us of a rich young ruler with the same question. He asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus answered by telling him to keep the commandments. The man said he had kept the commandments his entire life, and then asked what was lacking. Jesus then tells him to give all his possessions to the poor and follow Him. Scripture tells us the rich young ruler, knowing what he needed to do, walked away sorrowfully (Matt. 19:22). Jesus wasn’t asking him to give away his possessions for just another checkmark. His choice to walk away highlighted his love of possessions, and it was standing in the way of a real relationship with God.
Would we need a Savior if it was just about us doing all the right things? Doing the right things may make us look like a good Christian, but it’s not the same thing as being in a relationship with Him. The last thing Jesus said to the ruler was “Come, follow Me,” which signifies we can never do enough.
But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to become better. By praying, worshiping and studying God’s Word, we invite Him into our every day and enjoy a deeper relationship with Him. What a great way to start a new year.