Do you ever feel as though you just can’t get it right with God, your spouse, your date, your boss, or your church? If so, you are not alone. Millions of people have felt that way with sad consequences. Some finally give up and say, “If this is Christianity, I can’t do it. I give up.” We had a nurse in one of our Advanced Discipleship Training classes a few years ago and that was his story. He said, “I quickly realized I couldn’t measure up to living the Christian life so I walked away from the church and even God, so I thought. Yet, I couldn’t seem to help myself from sharing the gospel with patients in the hospital who were on their death beds. Eventually, I started to understand what it meant to live by grace which is why I’m in the class…to learn more.”
Another response is for people to redouble their efforts turning them into a Christian who is controlled by perfectionism. That was me for many years. It started with some things that happened while growing up but really kicked into gear when I attended a very legalistic seminar at age 19. It ended up causing depression, sleep issues, muscle pain, and relationship struggles. It was when I felt as though I was at the end of my rope and that Christianity didn’t work that God began to reveal to me that He accepted me because of His grace, not my perfectionism.
When we are born into the world, we come pre-programmed from the Tree of the Knowlege of Good and Evil that Adam and Eve ate from as recorded in Genesis 3:1-7. When they did, it appears as though their grace mentality was pushed out by a law mentality. What’s the difference? A grace mentality says, “God has done it all for me and to me. I am close to Him, perfect, and know who I am in Him.” As a result, we respond to Him and His grace. In other words, we respond to what He has initiated. A law mentality is totally contrary to this. It says, “I must initiate in hopes that God will love me more, forgive me more, bless me more, and I’ll get closer to Him.”
Do you see these two opposing ways of approaching life and your Christianity? In each case, we develop different ways of trying hard to make life work. These are patterns of different sins of the flesh. The flesh will always fail us but we will often think that if we could just improve, things would go better. However, the flesh can’t fix the flesh.
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrims Progress, is attributed to writing this.
Run, John, run, the law commands
But gives us neither feet nor hands,
Far better news the gospel brings:
It bids us fly and gives us wings
God has caused us to measure up in Christ based on Jesus Christ’s finished work, not His almost finished work! Only by understanding this in a deeper way can we rest from always trying to get it right.
As I’ve been sharing recently, I am confident that this understanding can deepen in you through our Advanced Discipleship Training On Demand classes. You can take these classes however it works for your schedule. Here is more information