My early years in the Church were filled with great angst. Any sort of relationship with God/Jesus was placed on a sort of edifice. Something very much desirable yet seen as something untenable, unattainable. We were encouraged each and every Sunday to seek this (relationship) and so for me, it became a fruitless pursuit - the “fool’s gold” of a “fool’s god”.
There was always something else I needed to do. Pray more, read the Bible more, seek God more, become less sinful, seek sinlessness, seek forgiveness, witness more, avoid sin at any cost, bring the sinful nature into submission, seek the gifts and the list goes on.
The problem, in all of this, was that it was all about me! It always required more effort, more work. Without realizing it at the time, what this actually did was to empower the ego. Salvation became my own private enterprise, my own personal project.
To add further to this confusion; I was also told that “all my efforts were sinful, even pointless” and so the ego (fearing “unemployment”) took on a very different approach. It became the personification (under the guise) of holy effort; a righteous pursuit, taking up my cross, striving for the kingdom, doing it all for Jesus, suffering for righteousness, suffering hardship like a good servant, while all time thinking that all this effort was indeed the Holy Spirit, not the cunning and powerful ego seeking another long-term employment project.
All this effort served little purpose - not because it was wrong, but because I’d tapped into a misplaced source of strength... yes! Even the wrong source. The language of fear is the language of an unemployed ego. When we really let go (first we need to understand what this means and how it happens) something else arises and it does, because it no longer encounters egoic resistance.
see all previous articles by Bob Garbett