Do you keep a task list or a to-do list to manage all that you have to do each day?
Our team at LifeWay uses a program called ASANA that helps us manage the dozens of projects we have and all the tasks that fall under each project. I have to admit: it’s very gratifying to check off the box, pretty much every time. Sometimes I create tasks in the program AFTER I’ve already done them just to have the pleasure of clicking the box that signals the task is complete!
It’s a simple behavior that shows just how much I value productivity. And the multiple task managements systems, be they notepads and pencils or apps for our smart phone, are abundant, giving every person reason to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments. I especially love the fact that the rest of my teammates can receive an email notification every time I complete a task. “Rob has completed this task!” I love that, and I love that they know that.
It’s no wonder that we often translate this experience over to our relationship with God. We view God as the great Taskmaster who is pleased with our accomplishments. We take His law, such as the 10 Commandments and all the sub-commandments that flow from it, and we do our best to check off the list those that we successfully keep each day. Of course, if we’re honest, we never check them all off, and even some of those that we do check off are a stretch at best. Nevertheless, we submit our incomplete and inaccurate task list to God, hoping that He will be pleased with our efforts.
But God is perfectly holy, and we are perfectly not. Unable to completely and accurately complete His task list, we are cursed. So to be right with God, there must be another way.
And there is. It’s what Paul calls the way of faith. It was true for Abraham (Genesis 15:6 and Galatians 3:6), and it’s true for us. Specifically, it’s faith that God provided His Son as the One who would keep God’s task list perfectly, and as the One who would take the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Faith that God did this for us puts us in a relationship with God.
So God is not a Taskmaster, demanding that we keep His task list so that we can be right with Him. He is a gracious provider who has done our task list for us. With faith in this gracious God, we are given the power of the Spirit to then keep His task list, albeit imperfectly, not so that we can keep God’s favor, but so we can show the world that we have it by grace.