Christianity is not a do-more, a do-better, or a work-hard religion. Christianity is not the faith of a spiritual overachiever. This is our propensity, but it is antithetical to the gospel
Watch Me, God.
One of the reasons why Christianity is unique among religions is because the followers of Christianity aren’t under pressure to perform for our Deity, to pacify Him by our deeds. In fact, God has done what needs to be done for us. God Himself became flesh to take the punishment we deserve (Romans 5:9). Thinking that we can do more or do better to please Him is the height of hubris and a deep offense to His infinite sacrifice.
Many Christians live in an atmosphere of constant pressure to do more and achieve more for God. The pinnacle of Christian perfection is perceived as entering “full-time Christian ministry,” or constantly soul-winning. Without a doubt, being in the ministry and sharing the gospel with others is essential and good. But what is the motivation for such good works? Does the motivation come from spiritual authorities heaping on commands, or laying down the law, or shoveling in guilt? No. The motivation for good works is found in what Christ has already done and in the freedom that He has achieved (Romans 3:28).
When we try to do more in an effort to make God love us more, it either leads to abject discouragement, or pride. On the one hand, we may become discouraged over our inability to measure up. But on the other hand, we may fall into the trap of thinking, “Jesus is so lucky to have me!”
Here’s Your Gift
Salvation is a gift. We can never earn this gift or somehow make it up to God. In the currency of goodness, we are poverty-stricken apart from Christ (Romans 3:24). Sanctification, growing in Christ, is not inherently something that we have the ability to do, although we are participants; rather it is what God does in us (Romans 8:30; 1 Peter. 1:2)
There is nothing wrong with working hard for God, or doing service, etc. These are good and right. But they don’t make us any more holy, or right, or acceptable in God’s sight (Romans 4:2). We do good things things because we’re free, not because we’re building up some merit with God or trying to somehow win His favor. Christianity is a religion of freedom. It is a religion of rest. That’s why Jesus said,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)