“He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…”
You could probably finish the song, except this time, we’re talking about god. Not God as the Bible teaches though, this god is the one who acts very much like our favorite fat man dressed in red.
Maybe it’s because I have heard “Santa Claus is Coming to town” a lot lately, maybe I’m just becoming increasingly aware of my sin and Christ’s grace. Probably a mixture of both. But at any rate, we need to see the religion of man-kind in general and the true One who gives gifts to men. We all think we deserve good things for good deeds, and everyone who wrongs us deserves death and humiliation, or at least a time out. Right? Few could claim this isn’t how they were raised. If you are good, you get good things, if you are bad, you are punished– being good gets you toys, being bad gets you coal. I’m not knocking parenting here, I’m just trying to show us where we get our view of Jesus from. We think we are acceptable to God because we have always obeyed our parents, but that is far from true.
We first need to not look at Jesus as though he is a skinny Santa. In other words, if you want to really connect with Jesus in your prayers to him, stop giving him a list like a kid a Christmas time. Prayer is first about God and getting to know his will, and second about you. And even when it’s about you, the focus should be on repentance and a desire to follow him in everything. The real Jesus is kind and merciful- he forgives the repentant despite what he has done. Jesus is also just- he disciplines his people and corrects those he loves.
This is the real Jesus (not the image, rather, the description above). Given the choice between the two, who do you go for? Do you complain to God claiming that you deserve better than what he has given? Or are you content with what he has done in your life (namely, salvation through Christ). He won’t change the way he feels about his children based off of their works, so why would we live as though he does?