a vicious cycle

“Jesus doesn’t want you to be a good person.  When He calls you to follow Him, He isn’t asking you to become nice and do your best at helping others.  He didn’t die so you could feel good about the things you’ve messed up or so you could carry a sentimental hope of being reunited beyond the grave with the people you love but who have died.

His call is a command for you to comprehensively and absolutely walk away from the way you do life now so you can follow Him down an exclusive path through the narrow gate that leads to the kingdom of heaven.

The first thing you have to let go of is the illusion that following Jesus is about becoming a good person.  Otherwise, you’re just trying to make yourself good by following a list of Sunday school rules that are self-righteous attempts to enter the kingdom of heaven on your own power, somewhere separate and away from the Jesus gate.

This simply sets you up on a cycle of failure and condemnation, where you keep thinking you have to try harder and do better to please God.  By following your list, you think you’re doing well, but then you stumble.  So you try harder and you actually do better, but then you fail again, and feel condemned for your failure.  So you try harder and do better, but then you fail again.

It is a vicious cycle that we so easily slip into when we fail to grasp the grace of God or, like the Galatians, fail to remain living in His grace.  We exhaust ourselves trying to follow a list of rules related to Christian conduct – what it looks like to be good – without realizing those very rules, no matter how well intentioned, will take us further away from God rather than bringing us under the shadow of His wings (Psalms 17:8).” – Costly Grace (p35-6), Jon Walker

Glory to God!


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