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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Credit: who will give me my reward?

There is a sign that hangs on my wall. Well, there are several signs that hang on my wall, but this particular sign reminds me of a truth I have never managed to actually put into practice. I don’t remember the specific circumstances which prompted its frantic creation, but I do know it speaks of a battle I face nearly every day of my life. One I have never won. One I don’t know how to win.

“I’ll never need credit on earth for what heaven can reward me. To know Him as I am fully known.” The sign boasts of a level of spiritual maturity I have not yet obtained. If you walked through my home without knowing me, you would not know I could be the occupant. The sign doesn’t match the daily battle in my head and heart, as I look to the left and look to the right and wonder who will give me my reward.

This past week this very topic came up in one of my un-anonymous small groups, the person sharing even used the word credit. I was so annoyed. They apparently struggle with a very similar thing to me. It took me until I walked into my home to realize why I was annoyed. I wanted the credit for coming up with this article. For some reason, I thought the conversation I had this week had the other person taking at least some of the credit for it.

Then I accidentally on purpose listened to a teaching on this very topic. Someone else can take the credit for helping me and teaching me how to kill my lust for making my own name great. I am sick of it. When I was living my super addictive lifestyle, that is what I lived for – making my own name great.

Oddly enough, I still don’t know how to kill it. Maybe you are thinking, “Laura, just get all your affirmation from God. Realize heaven will reward you. Be confident in Him.” Great advice, maybe; but that is not the whole problem.

See, I want to earn the reward. I want to earn my power and position. In God’s kingdom, I don’t have power. Well, not that I have earned or created anyway.

His power is made perfect in my weakness, and I am powerless. He is the Rock on which I confidently stand, but I can’t build my own rock. It’s not about me.

Life used to be about me. Before Jesus, I used to be able to earn my way somewhere. I was raised in a hyper-legalistic culture. Full of rules and regulations. I knew how to perform. Performing actually did something for me. I thought I was getting something. I thought I was special because I could make it look like I was keeping the rules. My heart wreaked of death. On the inside I was a critical, envious, jealous, prideful, cruel pervert; but I knew how to control the outside. I could earn the approval of men.

Then Jesus came along, and I gave Him my everything. Suddenly nothing was about me anymore. The more I learn about grace, the more I learn I can’t earn my way anywhere.

And my old nature hates it. My old nature is constantly looking to my left and right for a reward. I look up for it, too. God, did you see what I just did?

I think someone owes me for my sacrifice. Like somehow when I take up my cross and follow Him, someone ought to be constantly patting me on the back and telling me how great I am for doing so.

Someone in way of conversation this week pointed out to me that while Jesus’ yoke is easy (Matthew 11), we are still told to take up our crosses and follow Him (Matthew 16). There is tension there.

I found it an antidote to the poison of my lust for power and position. I think someone owes me; but as I looked at my life, I couldn’t find my cross. Not one single area of my life seemed to qualify as a cross I took up when I followed Jesus. He has made everything so much lighter.

You might have seen me falling apart emotionally yesterday. Yeah, but you should have seen that before He started His redemptive work.

I must have a cross. I must be carrying one, but I can’t figure out what it is. His power in my weakness trumps the thorns in my flesh (2 Corinthians 12). Hey, maybe that is my thorn – my flesh. That rotten old nature.

I have started a game called “Where is your cross?”. Every time I start to think the world owes me, I look for the cross He has asked me to carry. He has given me an abundance, so the exercise changes my mindset completely. I don’t know if this game is a long-term fix, but I have experienced the truth of Mark 10:29-30:

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.”

On the evening of my baptism, I wrote a poem. I don’t remember it all, but I remember a line:

The old man dies; the new arrives.

Ever let it be…

Where is your cross? When you carry it with Jesus have you found it becomes light? Is there any area of your life where you constantly find yourself seeking recognition?

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