If you turn on the television right now chances are you’ll run across a reality show. They’ve come into popularity over the last decade or so because of two distinct reasons. The first is low production value and the second is because these shows make you feel better about yourself. When you watch these shows it becomes real easy to think to yourself, “At least I’m not as bad as so-and-so.” You marvel at the crazy/stupid/selfish/egotistical things these people do and it makes you feel like a “good” person.
It can become very easy to think that there is some standard of “goodness” that you can reach to essentially save yourself. We love settings standards for ourselves. If you want to have a six pack, just do these exercises and eat this food. Want a successful business, just follow these 10 steps and you’ll succeed. It comes at no surprise that we want to be handed some to-do list to achieve eternal life. Even in the times of Jesus, one rich ruler came up to him and asked “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? No one is good–except God alone (Luke 18:18-19).
Right away Jesus nips the question in the bud by setting a standard for goodness so great that no one could fulfill it but God. Later Jesus tells this rich young man to follow the commandments, sell everything he has and follow him. The man is disappointed by this response because of his wealth. Jesus then tells the man, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Luke 18:24-25).”
This leaves us with one big question, who then can be saved? Jesus replies, “What is impossible with men is possible with God (Luke 18:27).”
That’s the good news. Regardless if we are some crazy reality tv star or an upright citizen in the community we can all be humbled by the fact that our efforts will add up to nothing. Yet we have a God that is SO good and SO loving that He will do the impossible for us. All we have to do is follow him. So next time you’re watching that show with the crazy people doing stupid things and you’re about to think about how much better you are then them, just give thanks that God loves them and thankfully, loves you too.