This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. – Deuteronomy 30:11

Naaman was a celebrated, powerful officer in the Assyrian army, who had a huge problem: leprosy. He heard of an Israeli prophet with the power to heal him, so he asked for and received permission to travel to Israel (a considerable effort in the day) to find this prophet. The Assyrian king tried to help with a letter of introduction to the king of Israel, asking him to heal Naaman. The Israelite king thought that Naaman was trying to provoke a war. The prophet, Elisha, heard of the situation and sent for the leprous officer.

But when Naaman arrived, Elisha didn’t even deign to come out of the house to meet him. Instead, he sent a servant with instructions to walk out into the water of the river Jordan and dip completely into it seven times. Naaman was a very important and powerful man who wasn’t used to being snubbed. He grew angry at Elisha’s seeming disregard and began to leave. His servants stopped him however with some very wise words. “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply to go and wash and be cured!” (2 Kings 5:13). So, Naaman did as he was told was cured.

We all would like to think that our salvation could come by our efforts. We would like to go on some great adventure like Sinbad the sailor and earn our own salvation. If we could, then we would be able to gain some degree of glory or respect, because we had earned our way into the very presence of God. Paul warned us saying “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:8-10a).

Many of us still hang on to this misbegotten hope even AFTER salvation, that perhaps our great works can elevate us then. Those who think this show that they still haven’t fully grasped the doctrine of prevenience – that God is always first. He gives us the faith we need to accept Him. His grace allows this. He paid the penalty for our sins. His Holy Spirit is the one who gives us the power to do any good works we may do. Jesus is not only the author, but the finisher! You know why we’ll cast the crowns made up of our good deeds at His feet? Because we’ll finally realize that they’re His anyway. Salvation and sanctification are not things that are difficult. We whisper His name and it’s done. We call out for help and it’s accomplished. Spend your life seeking to maintain that simplicity.