Follow Jesus? What’s in it for me? (Deuteronomy 8)

Why are you a Christian?

No, think about it. What’s the real reason?

Maybe some of us were Christians by default, thanks to our parents. We grew up in the church.

But that doesn’t explain why you’re still in the church. Or why you still believe in God. Or why you still don’t drink or you’re saving sex for marriage or you whisper a prayer or you pay tithes or offering.

The restrictions, the effort, the laws – what’s all of it for? What’s in it for you?

Moses has some possible answers. They’re not really for us, though. In Deuteronomy 8, He’s talking to the Israelites (still) when he explains exactly what’s in this whole “following God” thing for them.

Like, for example, the protection God gave them in the wilderness (“your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell”, verse 4). Or the beautiful land He was giving them in Canaan (verse 7). Or the plentiful food and flocks they would enjoy in their new homes (verses 12-13).

It sounded great. Five stars. Definitely would try.

But there was a catch.

Here for the wrong reasons

“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, [or fail] to observe his commands…” (verse 11).

It feels like an obvious thing to say, but it’s actually crucial.

It’s kind of like the Biblical equivalent of “here for the wrong reasons”. That phrase is a staple on The Bachelor and probably tons of other reality programs. It’s a way to check people who seem to be on the show for fame and glory, rather than for love or for music or whatever the core premise of the show is. Moses is essentially warning against the same thing.

The Israelites, or Christians in general, or you, or me, should become followers of God for a simple reason – Jesus.

But why are you a Christian, really? What if we’ve forgotten God? What if we’re focusing on the wrong things?

Things like the nations we’ve conquered, and the Promised Land we live on. Or like the attention we get on social media when we post deep, long messages about God. Or the praise we get at church when we minister or lead or sing or preach. Or we’re focused on the financial blessings we’re supposed to get from paying our tithe. Or we’re looking forward to the doors of opportunity God is supposed to open in our lives.

In other words, self. That’s what it all boils down to, right? What if we’re Christians, not because of Jesus, but because of self?

Deuteronomy 8 is a warning. This is how humanity is. This is how shallow we can get. Look at yourself. Make sure you’re not here for the wrong reasons.

“Come to Me, and I will give you everything.”

How exactly do we get back to the right reason? The subtitle for this chapter suggests an answer: “Don’t forget God”. But what does that even mean?

What if we dig deeper into all of those “wrong reasons”? Attention, power, money, comfort, praise. Why do we want those things? What are we really craving?

Is it love? A sense of belonging? Happiness? Contentment? All of the above? What is it that you really want? What is that elusive, slippery yearning that’s at the bottom of your soul?

God can give that to you. I know He can, and I don’t even know what it is.

I know thanks to the process of elimination. If money can’t give it to us, or fame, or food, or sex, or people, or even our own selves, then who is left? Who but Him knows us so deeply? Who but Him gave His life for us? Who but Him unconditionally loves us?

That’s the point. That’s why we’re Christians. That’s why we can’t forget God.

Because He is what we truly need and want. And thank God, because He is ours.

 

What do you think? Why are you a Christian? Comment below.

One thought on “Follow Jesus? What’s in it for me? (Deuteronomy 8)

  1. Interesting. Even obeying God because we want to go to heaven can be selfish and the wrong reason for being a Christian. Selfishness is deep in the human DNA. Only God can root it out.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s