In trying to draw closer into Jesus this season of Lent, today I was reminded again how I've often approached scripture with a self-focused goal. I've looked for the stories of his life to prescribe what I should look like, what I should feel, whom I should love and how I should serve, rather than reading them to see and in response, worship the God described. When I don't begin with worship, I start in on a path I am bound to fail. If for one moment I look at Jesus and let my shortcomings bring me shame rather than to my knees, I will push him away. If I read of his actions and the first thing I ask is, "What should I do?", I've missed him entirely.
Of course I believe that scripture should and does lay out how we should live. There is great freedom in following Jesus. And yes, going back to my post "Lenting it out", I am called to pick up my cross and follow him. However, I think I often forgo my business of worshipping and enjoying Jesus to take up his business of sanctifying me. I get it backwards. Even a noble goal of looking more like Jesus or not wasting the life I've been given are goals that hold personal achievement and self-betterment at their core. I remember for the longest time honing in on various areas of my life I needed to work on and surrender. I would become so fixated on the problem and in trying to force myself into submission, I failed to see Jesus was transforming me from the inside-out. Yet when I draw near to him, I loosen the grip on the things I'd otherwise find so hard to relinquish. Rather than ripping out the desire for sin, He grows my desire for himself, pushing aside the other idols.
When my heart draws into his, there's no fear of what will be demanded next. There's no worry over whether I'm giving enough. There's no condemnation over missed opportunities to love. Really, there's just him.