By Randi Peck
We’ve all fallen victim to “the asterisk”.
You know, that pesky little star placed at the end of virtually all “great sales” which translates it into a not-so-great sale. It innocently hides in the upper right corner of our loan agreements, symbolizing the pages of fine print we’ll never read. And of course, it teasingly embellishes the “FREE” leggings online, indicating the 12.99 shipping on a 10-dollar product.
Thankfully, God is above these sales tactics. He is the too-good-to-be-true contractor whose fine print only sweetens the deal. He is the generous salesman who paid in full. He is the Judge who took the sentence for the guilty.
The day we were reborn as Christians into the kingdom of our Lord, we laid our entire lives on the foundation of these three words: “It is finished”.
Covered. Forgiven. Assured.
No provisions. No conditions. No stipulations.
Satan’s goal, however, is that we might never reach this conclusion. The “father of all lies” and “accuser of the brothers” continually whispers into our ear:
“Yes, your sins are forgiven… except for that one.”
“Your slate is wiped clean… but not until you confess to that person.”
“Oh sure, Christ’s love is deep, wide and endless… when you feel it.”
“Your salvation is secure… For a limited time- then you have to get your act together.”
If we give in to Satan’s whispers of fine print, they soon become the heading of our heart. Those tiny little letters he attempts to scrawl on the bottom of the page quickly drown out the eternal script God sealed our souls with.
Daily we are tempted with the “lie of the asterisk”.
If the beauty and peace of our faith is found in Christ’s works, not our own, why do we continually find ourselves trying to earn our own way? We all want to stop striving. We all want to trust God’s grace and love to be sufficient, confidently and completely. But we keep on working… We are hardwired to work for our security, to strive for our standing.
I know the agony of crying out to God in utter desperation and despair: “What do you want me to do, God? I will do anything for you.” I spent an entire year of my life distant from God as I fought to earn security in Him. It was an extremely dark season… And yet, I am grateful for it. For it caused me to remember why, in the first place, I came to love this Savior: “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”
You do not need to do anything to be seen as beloved and righteous before your King. Nothing. He did it all for you. Part of me feels silly for writing such an obvious reminder of the gospel, and yet I know part of our calling is to remember to rest in God’s promises.
The Bible recognizes our tendency to fall back under a works mentality and continually reminds us: “… Whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:10-11)
Strive to enter that rest. Based on this statement, resting doesn’t come natural to us- we must continually put forth effort to remain on the foundation of the gospel. John Piper describes this concept as “wrestling to rest”. We must strive to “not strive”. We must work to “not work”. We must preach ourselves the gospel continually. And we must fight to keep the love of God our source of works, not our goal of works.
“Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3
Trust the truth you first found freedom in. Fight against the lie that your time with the Lord is a due you must pay. Push back against the devil’s subtly placed asterisks, assuring you of security only after confession is made or your hands are washed clean. Delight in the rest of the One who did your working for you so that you could simply rest and enjoy His presence!
The lie of the asterisk will fade as we replace the fine print of Satan with the sweet, sacred words of our Lord.