I remember getting the sheet music to Stairway to Heaven and bringing it home to learn to play it on my guitar. It didn’t sound right. The sheet music was written for piano and it didn’t sound like the Jimmy Page version. Later, I learned to play it for guitar and it still didn’t sound like Jimmy Page.
I got tired of trying to sound like Jimmy Page and developed my own style. Everyone told me they could hear some Jimmy Page in my playing. Go figure.
Back to the sheet music, it had the piano notation and also they lyrics. Mom sat down and read the lyrics (which I thought were really cool lyrics).
“Whaddaya think, Mom?”
She said, “Sounds like someone that wants to sound spiritual but doesn’t know how.”
You know? For all the cool ways the lyrics flowed, for all the nice rhythm, for the beautiful way they rode the melody on a long journey from note to note, they really made no sense.
There’s no buying a stairway to heaven.
It took me a while to realize that this not only applies to a monetary pass into the pearly gates but it also applied to any other pass to the streets of gold.
There was no list of things to do to buy my way in. There was no sacrifice, no magic spell, no image to uphold, no mountain to climb, nothing I can possible manufacture to buy my way in.
Only Jesus can buy my stairway to heaven.
John 1:51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
He alone has made a way for me to get to heaven.
So, just as there’s no buying my way into heaven, through Christ, no rap sheet of sins I’ve done, no disbelief from my past, no amount of evil I have succumbed to, nothing, NOTHING can overcome the way Christ has freely given.
No down payment, no problem. Christ paid it ALL! Every bit of it. I am not in debt of any kind.
I’m not motivated to serve him because I OWE him something, that I can somehow pay him back for what I did. That’s impossible.
I serve him because of who he is and who he is transforming me to be.
If I look at my service to him as paying off a debt that I owe him, as returning a favor, I’ll quickly become overwhelmed by futility. I can’t do it.
But the stairway he has purchased for me by paying my debt, leads me home even if I stumble I won’t come tumbling all the way back to my old self. Even if I believe I have fallen and am walking the same ground I used to walk when I was in sin, I am not.
He will catch me, even if I don’t want him to.
Mom was right, that song is trying to be spiritual without knowing how. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are doing the same, striving away, not to serve God because they want to be like him but trying to pay off a debt that cannot be repaid.
I guess that’s why so many Christians don’t sound very Christian. Their emphasis is on paying a price, not being like Christ. I’ve been that way. Sometimes, I still am.
But today, I’m not buying anything.