El Conquistador Fajardo, Puerto Rico

El Conquistador Resort Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Photo by the author (I know right…)

 

In the Bonus…

My wife and I recently took our 25th anniversary trip (on our 26th anniversary….blame schedules and having four kids in the house last year for that…). We were fortunate to have enough Southwest Airlines points and Hilton points to fly and stay for free. Well, almost. Resorts always are kind enough to hit you with a $20 daily fee for breathing their air and looking at their grass. But still, not a bad deal. I  drained my Hilton points about five months ago to pay for the hotel room and now, in July, with business travel and credit card point bonus deal, I’m almost back to the point level where I was before the trip. This, in just a few months.

With Hilton (and many other rewards programs) you get more than you deserve once you become an “insider” and reach their top tier. As a Hilton Diamond, there are many points bonuses I receive just for doing what I would be doing anyway. I don’t have to think about them or pursue them. They accrue to my account automatically.

Ahhh, the intoxicating joy of accumulating obscene quantity of points without even thinking about it! All because of the identity bestowed upon me – “Diamond Member.”

Once this magical tier is reached, I don’t have to do anything else to become a Diamond Member. I couldn’t “unbecome” a Diamond Member if I tried. They have me in their database. I’m guilty as charged for staying a zillion nights the previous year to qualify. I’m in. Can’t be out.

And Your Point Is?

God’s kingdom is like the Hilton Diamond program. Not only do you get benefits you may not even understand, you get them permanently. Once you are a member, you never lose the core benefits. Ever. With Hilton (and any other man made system) to maintain status, I have to stay on the road so much that my dog barks at me like an intruder when I get home.

There is no such performance requirement with God.

Some will make you think there is. But there isn’t. His love for you is no greater or no less based on your level of religious activity. You hit “Jesus Diamond” level upon acceptance of the deal, on your first stay at the hotel as it were. You became one with Him. You can’t get any “One-er” than you already are.

Too Good to Be True?

But almost spiritual blogger guy, don’t we have to seek God, to pursue Him in order to really reap the rewards? The word does say “Seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you.” It also says “Be still, and know that I am God” and encourages us to meditate on Him and His Word.

But know this, seeking and meditating increases your awareness of the truths that already apply to you. It doesn’t change the truth about you. The increased awareness may make you less susceptible to temptation or less likely to believe half-truths espoused by modern society. But, your identity doesn’t change because of your actions. Whether you are aware of the benefits or not, you are still a member of the program.

I can break lamps, steal towels and be abusive to hotel staff for the next year and still be a Diamond Member. I’ve met their qualifications. When you accept His generous offer to pay for your sins, you have status. You will be a happier bear if you also choose to learn about the program and maximize its benefits (being abusive to staff and stealing towels doesn’t make you happier), but that is up to you.

 

So, How do I Seek?

 My favorite green jedi master Yoda warns Anakin Skywalker that fear is a path to the dark side – a quick way to ‘fall off the wagon’. Seeking (and praying and devotionals and church attendance…and…and…..and…) can be a path to the dark side of religious self-effort. Seeking God must be a heart condition, a way of being not a way of doing, to bear long-term fruit.

Seeking means to demand or crave – it means that you want Him. You want to be aware of His hand upon you or His presence with you. This desire comes from within. It comes from realizing that you are in Him (all over the New Testament, do a word search of “in Him”). You already ARE. You don’t have to try to become. You are already a “Jesus Diamond” member. Know that and let that truth drive all that you do. Your work. Your play. Your relationships. He is in it all.

Thank you, Lord.

Jeff McKinney
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Jeff McKinney

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Jeff McKinney
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