I’m a scrounger. You won’t find a single coin in my car. You probably won’t find one under any of our couch cushions either. It’s not because my wife and I are neat-freaks. It’s because I have already found and put to use any loose change that has found it’s way into the nooks and crevices of our stuff.
I learned the art of scrounging in high school when I had to start buying my own stuff. My scrounging ability increased in college. Now, married with 3 kids, I am a Jedi Master of Scrounging. I’m the guy at Starbucks who makes you wait in-line because I have to count out 162 pennies for my tall black coffee.
This is spiritual, I promise…
You see, when you scrounge you dig deep into hidden areas to find something that is of value. You devote time and exertion to gathering enough change to purchase something. Then, you take your findings, lay them before the cashier, and hope that there is enough.
Our flesh tells us to do the same with God: Get right with your maker by finding out what he commands you to do then doing it to the best of your ability. You dig deep within your heart and muster up all of the righteousness you think you have, count it up, and lay it on the counter.
But God is not impressed. Why?
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it (James 2:10). Because We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away (Isaiah 64:6). Because No one is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10).
When you approach God with your righteousness, which is an illusion, you are guilty of spiritual scrounging. You have failed to realize that you have nothing to offer. You have failed to realize the gospel.
Likewise, when you sit complacently in despair knowing that you can’t measure up, but failing to see that the price has been paid on the cross by Jesus, you are guilty of spiritual scrounging.
The grace of God in Jesus is radical. To those who are in Christ It says both, ‘You will never be MORE loved by God than you are now. So stop trying to earn acceptance.’ and ‘You will never be LESS loved by God than you are now. So stop wallowing in self-pity! Look to Christ!’
If you are in Christ, God says to you, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. And respond like Paul when he heard these words, Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).