When I read stories of Moses parting the red sea and bringing the people out of Egypt I tend to only relate to Moses. He was a strong man of God with mistakes but over all a conqueror for the Lord.
As I get older and as God knocks away my self-righteousness, I have come to realize I am more like the Israelites than I want to be. You know, those moany, whiny, legalistic, idolaters whom we are never told to replicate. They constantly turned against what God had for them and promised to them.
For the past couple of weeks I have been preparing my heart soul and voice to audition (they call it evaluate but it’s pretty much an audition) for my church’s vocal ministry. Auditions aren’t anything like an episode of American Idol by any stretch of the imagination so I shouldn’t have been nervous right? Well, let’s just say it felt like I was going to sing the star spangled banner in front of Simon Cowell. The day of the audition I wake up and go to the kitchen to fix some tea and give myself a mental pep talk for the day ahead. “You can do this. No need to be nervous because this is not you going to be singing but God. God’s got your back,” I repeat to myself to keep down the nerves and fight the urge to completely freak out. All of a sudden out of nowhere, a thought flashes in my mind, “You should’ve fasted yesterday.”
The thing is I start to believe it. For 10 seconds I’m beating myself up for not fasting to prepare for this audition and for hanging out with my friends instead. It’s as if my mind was hijacked and this was going to be the thing that would make or break me. After those frantic moments God quieted my heart and I began to repeat all the scripture I had learned to prepare me for this. I settled down and resumed my pep talk.
In that moment I understood Legalism. I didn’t really get it before. In that moment I believed that in order for God to use me and find favor with me I had to do something, I had to be something better. I didn’t look at fasting as a way to strengthen my faith. I wanted to look more beautiful for God so that he would pick me. I wanted him to choose me so desperately, “Look, I’m ready. Choose me.”
I went upstairs to my room humbled and staggeringly aware of my need for approval. I was reflecting I heard God say, “I did choose you. While you were at your ugliest, I died for you. You didn’t have to do anything for me to pick you. I choose you because I love you.”