Life Is Pass or Fail

In my last post, I wrote,

If life is pass or fail, then I don’t want to fail.

I know that we don’t usually think of life as pass or fail. Perhaps, this doesn’t even seem like a Christian idea. God is merciful, after all, and, as long as we try, surely we are not failures. This is true. But… we shouldn’t play the mercy game, teetering thoughtlessly on the edge of every decision because we believe that God’s grace will catch us no matter what. “Greasy Grace”, as one of my acquaintances has called it, might be a slick way to get into Heaven, but it isn’t noble and it isn’t kind.  It is neither loving nor brave.

Should we really be aiming to take the lazy, mediocre way?

lazy cat Naniel

Failing to Not Be Vomited (yup, keep reading)

Lounging comfortably on God’s mercy can cause us – not to be cool about injustice, thus turning a cold shoulder to God’s will, nor passionate about righteousness, thus on fire to do God’s will – but, rather, to just be lounging. Sacred Scripture warns us, rather graphically, about the danger of being lukewarm:   “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”[1]

That seems pretty clear.

When disciples of Jesus asked him if only a few people were going to be saved, he responded, “Strive to enter the narrow door.”[2] This, of course, is in line with his teaching: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”[3]

Christ even refers to himself as the gate. He tells us that those who enter through will have life and have it abundantly.[4] I want abundant life! But, I must remember… “those who find it are few.”

Failing to Seek the Way

This is personal. This is about my relationship with my very Creator. Either I give of myself or I don’t. Either I love fully, or I don’t truly love. For, love that is not actively forgiving, compassionate, and generous is more akin to really, really liking. Not love. There’s no halfway with love. As the the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi wrote: “Half heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty”.

God is merciful. Yes. Thank God! God loves us unconditionally, even more than parents love their child. God will forgive us when we are lazy (I confess, my tendency is definitely toward laziness) but, will He congratulate us for it? Yes, as long as we don’t reject His forgiveness and love at the end of our lives on earth, God will mercifully forgive us and mercifully receive us into eternal life with Him. We can rely on God’s mercy. And that’s good, because each and every one of us will need God’s mercy, because each and every one of us is far from perfect and in need of forgiveness for something or many things. But… wouldn’t it be best if we didn’t rely on God’s mercy too much? Wouldn’t it be best if we tried our very best to do what God wants us to do?

Failing to See Godpoverty Neil Moralee

I don’t want to fail as a human being.  And that means that  I don’t want to fail to see God. I don’t want to fail to see the full truth of reality. I don’t want to fail to seek truth and to see glimpses of the Divine when they appear. For, God is ever-present and wants us to seek Him and to find Him, because therein lies our fullest satisfaction and greatest joy. God wants us to be joyful – not only forever with Him in Heaven, but also here and now.

When Jesus tells us to seek the narrow door, he goes on to say that some will knock on the door after it is locked and beg the Master to let them in. But, the Master will reply “I do not know where you are from.”[5] Indeed, Jesus tells us that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord” will enter Heaven. He may very well say to them, to us, “I never knew you.”[6]

How will Christ know us after death if we never truly sought in him during life? I don’t believe that it is enough NOT to kill, NOT to commit adultery, NOT to steal. Our lives shouldn’t be about what we don’t do as much as what we DO. Yes, I want to avoid sin (as much as humanly possible) AND I also want to seek Christ. I don’t want to fail to see the face of God here and now in the faces of my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my nephews, my home health aides, my neighbors, strangers on the street, my friends, and even the people I don’t like very much. I will truly love God, here and now, by finding God in every person that needs love. And, yup, every person needs love. Jesus tells us that whatever we do for the least person, we do for him. We do to him.

This is how Christ will recognize me at the end of my life. If I ministered to him, then he will truly know me. And, wait, there’s more! This also means that I got to know him here and now, in this life – if I didn’t fail in recognizing him. And wouldn’t that be a joyous and fulfilled life?

And, so, I say,

Life is pass or fail.

May I not fail…

© 2016 Christina Chase


Photo Credits: (Creative Commons license)

Lazy Days, Naniel

Made in the USA, Neil Moralee

You may also want to check out these other posts on Divine Incarnate:

Before I Die

Heartedness Doesn’t Reach into Majesty


[1] Revelations 3:15-16

[2] Luke 13:24

[3] Matthew 7:13-14

[4] John 10:10

[5] Luke 13:25

[6] Matthew 7:21-23

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