I’m so grateful my salvation doesn’t depend on me and my good works. If it did, I’d fail big time. I spend way too many days thinking angry thoughts and gratifying my selfish will. I’m selfish, irritable, and discontent. I long for a servant’s heart, to be Christ’s hands and feet to a hurting world, but more times than not the monster within rises up and says, “What’s in it for me.” Praise be to God His love extends beyond my failings, and His strength extends beyond my weakness.
In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus extends a beautiful invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.”
In essence, He said, “Quit trying to earn My love. Simply come.”
When I think of a yoke, an image of yoked oxen comes to mind. When carrying the plough, the two must be in step with one another, and the load is much lighter spread between them. When we yoke with Jesus, we fall into step with Him, allowing Him to take the lead. Only He doesn’t ask us to share the load of our sin. He carried it all, and having paid the heavy price, He now invites us to come and rest. Today Kathi Woodall shares the moment this truth became real to her, with the help of a furry friend, Sylvester the Cat.
Sylvester & Tweety by Kathi Woodall
On my blog, in my classes, in my books, in my life, I talk a lot about Jesus. I talk about things like relationship, salvation, freedom, holiness, and resurrection. Why are all those things so important to me? Why do I care?
Forgive the child-like simplicity of this story, but, well, I was a child when it happened. Remember the old cartoons? You know, the good ones, like Looney Tunes. Whenever a cartoon character, such as Sylvester the Cat, had to make a decision, two more Sylvesters would show up, one dressed in an angelic robe and one decked out like Satan with a pointy tail and a pitchfork. They would then plead their case as to why Sylvester should or should not pop poor little Tweety Bird into his mouth.
Albeit incorrect, this imagery led to my first understanding of how we enter heaven. In my mind, I envisioned two similar characters in heaven standing by a dry-erase board. Of course it was a dry-erase board because I always thought they were so much cooler than chalkboards. To one side of the board was an angelic being in the white robes and golden halo. Her job was to make a mark each time I did something good or right. Shared my toys – got a mark. Finished my vegetable soup – got a mark. Went to bed when I was told – got a mark. Standing to the other side of the board was a more satanic being, complete with pointy tail. Her job was to make a mark when I did something bad. Yelled at my brothers – got a mark. Didn’t do what mom said – got a mark. Was mean to a friend – got a mark. My thinking was that, when I died, whichever side had the most marks would determine my eternal destination.
Riding home from church one Sunday, in the back seat of my parent’s car, something clicked inside me. It was a fabulous “light-bulb” moment. The marks didn’t matter, regardless of which side of the board they were on. When Jesus died on the cross, the board was wiped clean. The bad wouldn’t be held against me and the good wouldn’t increase my chances of going to heaven. I will spend eternity in heaven only because Jesus made it possible by sacrificing Himself on the cross and resurrecting three days later.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJ
Kathi Woodall’s passion is to serve God through writing and teaching the truth of His Word, loving her husband, Jimmy, caring for their home, homeschooling their four daughters and serving in her church. To learn more about Kathi Woodall, please visit http://www.growbarefoot.com.
If you’d like to learn more about the Christian faith and how to become right with God, you can read the following:
As a side note, I made an error when I announced last week’s book winner. When I went to find the person’s email in my subscribers, they were no longer there. I’m not sure what happened, but as I have no way of contacting that person, I decided to draw again. This time Patricia won. Patricia, I’ll be sending you an email shortly to get your address. I hope you enjoy Eileen Rife’s novel, Second Chance. I did!