I thank God for Paul, because Paul was a mover and a shaker.
When I read the Bible and discover how Paul’s boldness and courage ignited change, something inside me is stirred up. I admire his radical boldness and fervent desire to share God’s truths. Paul truly had a heart for the things that mattered to God. I can only hope for a heart as pure as Paul’s.
I accepted the Lord when I was a little girl. I really didn’t know what I was doing or exactly what that meant. I just knew that now that Jesus lived in my heart, I had to start following the rules. I was always a pretty good kid, but now I had to dig deep and be extra good for the Lord. I mean, I was “saved” and all. I went to church most Sundays with my mom and really tried to understand what the preacher was talking about. Many times I would be awakened by the radical churchgoer who would shout, “Amen,” while running down the church aisle doing a dance that looked like he had a bad case of ants in the pants. I memorized all of the classic spirituals and even knew when to raise my hands at the appropriate times.
When I made it to high school and college, I was pretty much a pro at being radical for Christ. I’d hang out at my sorority parties and play with fire just enough not to get burned, while deep down inside judging the girls for doing things that I only saw in the movies. I didn’t believe in fornication, I’d routinely put a little something in the collection tray at church, I had attended the youth camps, I prayed before most meals, even if the food wasn’t so good, I didn’t believe in getting drunk, always wore modest clothes and was even the co-chair of the Christian Singles Ministry at church. I did my best to stay in “right standing” with God. The hard part was when I broke a rule. Maybe two, even. That’s when I’d fall apart and wonder if the Lord still had any use for me. That’s when the loneliness and guilt of falling short would set in. I would often feel empty and hopeless. I would pray continuously for the Lord’s forgiveness hoping he would spare me one more time and not cast me out of his perfect plan.
As I matured in Christ, the Lord revealed that he wasn’t interested at all in my religiosity and what I could do for Him, but rather He wanted me to recognize what He had already done for Kionna Monyae Rowe—a little girl that he created in His own image.
He wanted a relationship with me! You see, religion is mankind’s attempt to somehow reach God. If I’m good enough, He’ll love me. On the other hand, Christianity is God reaching down to humanity through the person and work of Christ. The religious and irreligious alike must understand that NOTHNG and NO ONE is saved apart from Jesus Christ.
Even impressive religious works that aren’t carried out by abiding in Christ cannot win God’s favor or bring reward. They will result in “wood, hay, straw” (1 Cor 3:12).