Sometimes We Try Too Hard

I am reading Paul’s letter to the Roman gathering of Jesus-followers in a different translation (The Message) as if it were a personal letter from him to me. I wish to capture the flavors and subtleties.

I began what is labeled chapter 10. I’m struck by how hard he is striving to get across the idea that the work of setting things right between God and me is God’s work. And work he has already done.

Any trying I attempt is in vain. It is much useless thrashing about.

[The Jewish people] don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily peddle their knockoffs. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.

Romans 10

What a colorful metaphor.

It reminds me of the Red Queen in Alice and the Looking Glass who said that they had to run faster just to stay in the same place. But we could get off that treadmill and let God do God’s thing.

We don’t have to run faster, follow ever more rules, try harder. We just let God be God. And just live within his spirit. That will guide us to the most fruitful life beyond what we can imagine.

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