Much of our lives seem to hinge on our performance. Our jobs, schooling, and even our time spent growing up, we determine much of our self worth and feeling of success by how we perform. Whether we do well or not affects our outlook of ourselves. And when we come to faith in Christ we continue this same outlook. We feel accepted by God and the church based upon how we perform our “duties” and “acts of service”. Did we measure up to God’s expectations today. It seems to be a common theme in our lives. And yet this was never how things were supposed to be. I have been struck by some new truth in my life. We were never meant to live a Christian life on our own. And yet we struggle and fight to be someone who we feel measures up to God’s expectations and then come down hard on ourselves for not measuring up. And yet the standard we set is often one of our own making.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I have come to realize that I can only live the life I am supposed to to the degree that I allow Christ it live in me. As He lives through me I become more and more like Him. And this then takes away all the striving and fighting to become something I cannot. Since the giving of God’s moral law, The 10 Commandments, man has striven to become and to measure up, and become someone that God can approve of. And yet the purpose of the law was not to give us a code to measure up to. The purpose of the law was to reveal just some of the character and nature of God, to reveal to us what God declared sin to be, and more importantly to reveal to us our inability to measure up on our own. Man fought for centuries to live out the law, and only one person ever did it successfully. Jesus came and fulfilled all the requirements of the law.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states that we cannot come before God boasting, because we can only come to Him because of His grace and love. Our relationship with Him is provided to us as a gift. And we receive this gift by using the faith in our hearts. Faith that Romans says He gave us. We cannot stand before Him on any of our own merit. And we receive this gift by grace through faith and then switch right back into working for God’s approval. Although there are works for us to do that have been prepared for us to do by God, they are not supposed to be how we measure our worth and acceptance. God accepts us as we are and this never changes.
So we can only become who God intends for us to be, by allowing His life to flow in and through us. Allowing us to be free from striving and allow the peace of God to flow in and through us. Our lives can then focus on what God intended for us to focus on. Our relationship with Him and sharing that relationship with others.