Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Romans 11:13-24

I was hanging out with some friends today, having a Wimbledon-inspired Wii Sports tennis match, when the subject of college life inevitably came up. We started sharing our stories and comparing the attitudes of different schools and the students that go to them—my friend who goes to Harvard talked about how everyone she knows is desperately trying to prove that they’re not nerds. Another friend talked about how everyone who goes to Princeton has the “Princeton ego”—“In fact, I think it’s a perquisite; they won’t let you in unless you have it,” she informed us dryly.

I think similarly being a Christian can come with a certain attitude. It’s easy to think that since we have this one big important thing covered—life after death is a pretty big thing, after all—that we’ve got a one-up over other people. No matter what happens, be it an unfortunate accident or suffering at the hands of another, we’ll be rewarded for our pains later. I think it’s pretty easy to get a little “holier-than-thou” attitude. Or of course there’s the attitude of being patient though always suffering, or the attitude of being in tune with God’s will and always knowing what to do. Or just like the Christians that Paul refers to in his letter, being prideful of our sufferings for and belief in Christ. If nothing else at least we’re smart and wise enough to follow His teachings and get eternal life, right?

But the fact remains that it’s nothing we do that earns eternal life, and thus there really isn’t anything to be prideful in. All our little sufferings and inconveniences will never add up to the emotional, physical, and spiritual agonies that Jesus suffered on the cross. It is only grace that allows us to obtain eternal life and satisfaction, not our own works. There is nothing that makes us more special or more worthy than any other person, no matter if we are a sterling example of morality or a promiscuous drug addict. So, there’s really nothing to be proud of. There’s no reason that people should be able to classify Christians by any particular “attitude”… unless, of course, it’s an attitude of being faithful to Christ’s teachings.

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