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Put the Shovel Down

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9
Put the Shovel Down Book Cover

Try to imagine a huge pit in the ground. It is ten feet wide, circular, and dark. In the bottom of the pit is only a shovel. Somehow a person finds herself at the bottom of this terrifying pit. She picks up the shovel and figures she will dig herself out of this pit. After hours of back breaking, sweat inducing shoveling, someone lowers a rope ladder to her. Instead of climbing the ladder to her freedom, the woman figures she might as well keep digging. She would rather help her own rescue by digging to freedom than receive the free gift of the ladder. Though this woman represents a comical and foolish depiction of stubbornness and self-righteousness, this caricature sadly represents how many of us feel about salvation. We want to help.

the gospel is free for you

The good news of the gospel declares that we are the passive recipients of God’s saving work. God sits us in a chair and stands before us showing us the great heights, depths, and lengths he will go to rescue us from our sin and brokenness. Every few seconds as God declares his undying love for us, we stand up and try to help. He gently walks us back to the chair, sits us back down, and says, “Only I can save. Receive.” He continues on about his desire to reconcile us to him and his plan to do so. We stand again and ask how we can make it easier for him. He smiles, walks us back to our chair, and reminds us, “Sweet child, this is my gift to you. Receive.” He continues on about his plan for our future and how he has big plans for us. We stand again and remind him nothing good in life is truly free. He walks us back over, and gets down on one knee. He lifts our chin with his gentle hand and looks us in the eyes. He smiles, this time sadly because he knows the toll this world has taken on us. And he reminds us again, “I know this world demands more from you all the time. I know that in this world there is often a cost too high for the good things in life. But, child, my kingdom works on a different economy. My gospel is free, and only free.”

put down the shovel

The good news of the gospel beckons you to put down your shovel, cease your striving, and receive what only God can offer—the salvation of your soul. The triune God eagerly wants to save you, but we have to come on his terms. He gives us everything, and we simply say yes. Put down your shovel, and pick up the cross.

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Why We're Broken

Daily Question

Why do we want to contribute to our own rescue? How is the gospel opposed to this thinking?

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Comments (7)

We live in a broken world in which every day people go about an "every day life" of worry, fear, stress, anxiety, and depression…all in the attempt to satisfy the demands of this world. I want to remember that I have been rescued and I am FREE. Although it’s in my nature to act and organize and lead the charge…God wants me to slow down and relax.

We want to contribute our own good works. The gospel is opposed to this I think for two reasons.
1. We are saved by grace alone so the only thing I can contribute to my salvation is my sin. There is literally nothing I can do to make God love me more than He already does.
2. Scripture says that our righteous deeds are like filthy rags, so even our seemingly righteous acts are tainted by sin, especially when done in the flesh rather than the Spirit.

Because that is how we are wired! We think that we need to do things in order to receive acceptance. We have been taught that since we were little and our parents would say if you want someone to come over you have to do A B and C. We have been conditioned to think that if we are wanting to do get something we have to work at it and work hard in order to receive it.

Perhaps we don’t think we are deserving; or we belief the age old saying” God helps those who help themselves.”
We live in a works based culture; hustling, striving, and earning is glorified.
And perhaps the simplicity of the good gospel doesn’t seem like quite enough without us doing our part…. We must DO to GET.

“But it is by grace we have been saved.. through faith not of ourselves. It is the GIFT of God not by works so that no man can bost!“
Romans 8:9-10

“So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:12-13‬ ‭NET‬

We need to read the whole Bible or we can be decieved 🥺

This passage says it all!
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear. But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless?”
‭‭James‬ ‭2:14-20‬ ‭NET‬‬

We can’t forget the next verse “God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭We no longer do the wicked things we used to do! HE CREATED US FOR A LIFE OF GOOD DEEDS WHICH HE PREPARED FOR US TO DO “God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ERV‬‬
God did not intend for us to continue to do evil! We are new creations after we decide to walk as Jesus walked!

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