I've always wanted to go here, but for the wrong reasons.
I used to believe that "doing things for God" - going to Jerusalem included - makes one closer to God. If you knew me from before, I was hardcore churchy and all. Doing things for the Lord sounds "right" and noble, making one look pious, good and "righteous" on the outside. But deep inside, I had an overinflated spiritual ego like that of a Pharisee on steroids. I used to believe that God favored me and will bless me because of the things that I was doing for him, and conversely, because I wasn't doing the things that he didn't want me to do. But wait… isn't that being right with God or being blessed by God through one’s self-effort? Isn't that, at the very essence of it, like any other religion?
I already knew *about* Jesus, but I didn’t *know* Jesus. I was more concerned about what I’ll do for him in order for me to be blessed. Little did I know that the way to be truly blessed is to know what He has already done for me. I was too proud to hold on to Christ’s righteousness; instead, I was holding on to my righteousness, which is technically, spiritual shit. I had a hard time understanding Grace because I thought I was “good enough”.
My head feels like it’s gonna blow right now. I could go on, and on and on, but I don’t want to sound too preachy. I don’t want to sound like I have it all figured out, because I haven’t. And that, actually, is the beauty of Grace. It’s God unconditionally loving ‘effed* up people like us, flaws and all, simply because we’re holding on to what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross.
*”’effed up”. the 21st century equivalent of the word “wretch”.