“A Paris en Vélo, On Dépasse les Autos.” This famous song from French singer Joe Dassin describes how much easier it is to travel through Paris by bike instead of by car. Indeed, it is a nightmare to find a parking place in Paris, and cars often find themselves bottled-up the slow moving traffic while bikers zoom around, in front, and sometimes over them!
“Get off my car!”
Many Parisians like the fact that they can rent their own bikes at most street corners of the city. You can deposit the necessary change into a machine and you may then take one of the many city bikes and ride wherever you would like to.
This is also good for your health, and Parisians are definitively health-conscious. Along the Seine River for example, there are special designated paths for jogging and running, and surprisingly, these are well used. The same is true in Paris’s many parks, such as le Jardin du Luxembourg, where there are also many other athletic choices, such as tennis, walking, and biking. Did I already say biking???
Parisians work hard to be healthy. They also work hard to enjoy nature. Because this city is huge, and there are few who have enough land to have their own gardens, Parisians plant their gardens in pots on their apartment balconies. It is amazing how many “pot-gardens” in balconies you will notice while walking the streets of Paris!
Parisians also work hard to move up the corporate ladder and at developing a firm social base. But then, are they any different from North-Americans? And for that matter, isn’t this a worldwide phenomenon? Aren’t we constantly trying to prove ourselves in anything we do, no matter where we live?
And sadly, we’ve become so addicted to proving ourselves, that this mentality has also invaded our spiritual lives. We seem to think that the more good works we do, the better will be our chances of earning a place in heaven! But is this really God’s plan?
Why would God send His son to die on a lonely cross if we could earn Heaven by our own merits? And can we truly earn spiritual bliss? Aren’t we just making a mockery of the One who is the Lover of our soul? If Jesus paid the price of our sin by dying on a cross, then all of our efforts are for nothing. Instead of earning brownie points, when we try to work our way to Heaven we are simply displaying distrust in our Saviour Himself!
“I appreciate what you did for me Jesus, but sorry, it is not enough for me. I doubt that will give me entrance to heaven. I need to earn heaven on my own efforts. In me I can trust!”
Is this what God’s Word teaches us? Is it possible that we have it completely wrong?
Let’s check this out!
“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Rom 9:16-17 NIV)
“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” (Rom 9:30-32 NIV)
“And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:6 NIV)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9 NIV)
I guess I had better start taking my bike to work. Not because I am addicted to works, but because it will give me time to meditate on the awesome grace of God! Can you believe it: I am saved because of what Jesus did for me on the cross! I can’t do anything to earn heaven, except accept Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savour! How truly amazing He is! Thank you Jesus!
(To view the entire “La Vie en Rose” devotional series, please click here.)