Whether you believe in nothing or believe in God but we ALL engage in the theology of Rocky Balboa. Some of us dont know it and dont recognize it. Some of us know it but cant escape from it. Some of us after long struggles have learned to overcome it. Let me explain.
In the first and only good Rocky movie Adrian told Rocky ‘you can’t win’. Rockys response was that I just need to go the distance then I will know I am not a bum. There is always something that ‘drives’ everyone that we worship and if we have it we will know we are not a bum — whether we actually know it or not. We all have this thing that controls us and as Christians we call them idols.
We all live for something whether we know it or not. Even if a person says I live for nothing and does not let anything control them in essence they are living for their independence. Irreligious people that dont know God dont often realize that they are also also worshipping something — whether it be their independence, their political beliefs, their view of the world, They all have the one ore two things that if they have it they know they are not bum.
Likewise, most religious, God believing people are also worshiping something besides God and they dont even know it. Instead of finding a righteousness (Romans 3:21) in Christ they are finding a rightness in being religious people or a rightness on being moral, hard working, disciplined people.
However, scripture tells that Jesus is the only master that if we fail him we can be forgiven and if we get him He will completely fulfill you — because we were built for Him. Lets find our rightoussness only in Christ and not the idol of this world.
The parable of the Prodigal son which I like to think of as the prodigal God is a story of a a younger brother that squanders his fathers money on prostitutes and reaches his ends and then returns to the Father. Its also a story of an “obedient” older brother that ends up being the problem child that does not “get it.’
The older brother was NOT interested in breaking the rules. He was interested in keeping the rules. But he was interested in keeping the rules for ALL the wrong reasons.
We live in a world of Christians that want to stay focussed on the problems of the younger brother and not the older brother. We also have lot of people that WANT and desire to be someones older brother. What the older brother never understood is that there are two ways to run from God. One is by being very bad (younger brother) and the other is to being very good (older brother). To fight against this legalistic tendency that the older brother has we need to understand deeply the righteousness that only comes through Jesus Christ. This righteousness says we are ALL absolutely sinful and we are all loved at the same time.
Below is Romans 3:19-22.
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Righteousness Through Faith
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We will never hunger for Christs’ beauty until we have seen the filth of our own vain efforts to make ourselves beautiful.