I had a bit of a revelation last night.
I have invested an incredible amount of my lifetime into trying to perfect myself. Now, I’m not even talking about all I did when I was younger to impress everyone with my knowledge and ‘spirituality’, that was just a drop in the bucket. No, I’m talking about every moment since then. Even today I’m still investing an incredible amount of time into becoming perfect under my own strength.
And all I can ask myself is, why?
If I really believe everything I’ve been thinking, studying, writing and talking about, and if I really expect anyone to look at me and see evidence of the truth in my life, why am I still working to earn God’s favor? My automatic response is, of course, “Well I guess I better try harder to get this grace-lifestyle-thing down…”
I think Paul knew how I feel…
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
– Romans 7:21-25
I don’t know how to stop striving. But like Paul, I can say, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord!” by grace I am made right with God, and He cuts away my sinful nature (Colossians 2:11-13). It is him that works to perfect me for his own glory. And I don’t have to work and worry to sustain anything.
And so, the only standard I need to hold myself to is grace. Belief and love. I don’t need to worry about all the other stuff. And so my prayer is this: “Father God, teach me your ways; I accept the work of the Holy Spirit in my life to do Your will.”