If you’re anything like me, your instinctive reaction to depression or addiction or difficulty will be to try harder. In Christian terms, it looks like this: praying longer, studying the Bible more and generally being a “better Christian.”
These things are great – but they are not the gospel.
The point of Christianity is not ‘keeping up our end of the deal’. The point is a marriage-relationship with Jesus. We haven’t entered a contractual arrangement with Jesus but a covenant of love. He’s a spouse, not a mobile provider.
With Vodafone, everything is on contract. They give me the right amount of ‘minutes’, I give them the right amount of money. It’s a tit-for-tat relationship, I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine. This means it’s also fragile – ready to fall apart the minute either side fails to perform.
With Jesus, everything is about covenant love. He has given Himself to me, and by the cross He has purchased me forever. He belongs to me and I to Him. This is the most secure relationship imaginable – even though I fail to keep my part every day. Here is a covenant relationship – a relationship of unconditional love.
This makes a huge difference to how I think and live. If I’m thinking “contract,” I’m secure only if I uphold my side of the agreement. If I’m thinking “covenant,” I see that He upholds both.
So- how’s your Christian life going? If you’re thinking “contract,” you’ll look to your performance – and despair. if you’re thinking “covenant,” you’ll know this: “I am my beloved’s: and my beloved is mine”. (Song of Songs: 6:3)