Daily Word of Grace # 67 (June 17, 2020)
The opening of the late David Foster Wallace’s short story “Good Old Neon” (from his 2004 book Oblivion) reads: “My whole life I’ve been a fraud. I’m not exaggerating. Pretty much all I’ve ever done all the time is try to create a certain impression of me in other people. Mostly to be liked or admired. It’s a little more complicated than that, maybe. But when you come right down to it it’s to be liked, loved. Admired, approved of, applauded, whatever. You get the idea” (141). There it is…about as honest and candid an admission of what often motivates us as you’ll ever read. In this age of prolific social media there are more avenues than ever before available to help us “create a certain impression of (ourselves) in other people.” But it’s a black hole, because our egos are also black holes—black holes of ego and pride with an endless desire to be “admired, approved of, applauded, whatever.” But when it comes to our relationship with God, we need do absolutely none of this whatsoever, because scripture is clear that God is love personified, that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The proof of this unconditional love of God for all of us is Jesus’ death on Good Friday—“God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This is a refreshing word of comfort for everyone, especially those worn down by the vain (and exhausting) efforts to create a certain image of themselves in other people. The work to make us “a new creation” in Christ is God’s work, not ours (2 Corinthians 5:17) —and dependent entirely on God’s grace, not our effort (Ephesians 2:8).
Love and Prayers,