Don’t you just love that feeling? Like the one when you run up an insane amount of stairs and are totally winded? Or when you’re watching your friends kids for the day for a total of 7 children and are totally wiped by the afternoon? Wouldn’t it be better if you could be sitting on a warm beach drinking ice-cold lemonade?
Trying to be a good Christian is a lot like the first two examples. But I see so many others that seem to be sipping on that “lemonade of grace” and make it look so easy. Is it possible?
Growing up as a Christian through most of my college days I really tried to please God. I didn’t believe that my salvation was based on what I did, but I thought God wouldn’t like me if I didn’t follow His commands. He saved me, but it was up to me to do the rest. So I basically tried my hardest to check off all the boxes every single day.
Want to know where you can find this list? Go check out 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. It kind of goes like this:
- Respect those over you
- Be at peace with each other
- Admonish the lazy
- Encourage the fainthearted
- Help the weak (right here already sounds exhausting)
- Don’t repay anyone evil for evil
- Seek to do good to others….and everyone else too!
There’s more but I’ll let you read it. The point is if you and I have to do all these we will fail every time. That’s what I used to do. Fail. It’s exhausting, frustrating, and depressing.
But then I learned how to actually do it. I learned how I can check off all those boxes.
The secret is…I can’t. That’s it. We can’t actually do it. Because we weren’t supposed to in the first place. The next verse shows us that.
Verse 23-24: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (24) He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” [Emphasis added]
You couldn’t do anything to save yourself. What makes you think you can live the perfect life either? Verse 24 is clear. It is Jesus Christ who does the good in our lives. We can’t aadmonish the lazy or help the weak. We need Christ to do that through us (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus already started a good work in you. He’s be the one to finish it (Philippians 1:6). So the next time you’re trying to be kind to that person, or stay away from evil, ask God to do that. Don’t rely on you. It’s the most refreshing thing you’ll ever do.
What’s something you can stop doing in your strength and willpower, and ask Jesus to do for you? E.g. loving on that annoying person at work.