the forty-second parallel

Archive for December, 2006

Why You’ll Never Be a Better Christian

I had a rough week a few weeks back. Between things at work and at home and at church, I was frustrated with lots of things – but mostly just frustrated with my own inability to do things right. It seemed like no matter what I did or how hard I tried, things just weren’t going right for me. So, there I was at the end of the week – just a frustrated dude driving to work on Friday morning (exactly what the world needs). As I dodged traffic, I was praying and thinking about what my problem was and then it dawned on me – I’m a failure. And I got the biggest grin on my face and I realized (once again) how good Jesus is. Hallelujah – I’m a failure.

Let me explain.

I’ve heard plenty of sermons wherein well-intentioned preachers urge their listeners to get serious about doing X, Y or Z. As the sermon usually goes, once you can get XYZ down pat, voila – you’ll be a better Christian. The XYZ can be anything – prayer, devoted bible study, healthy relationships, etc. All of which are very good things in and of themselves and certainly worthy of exhortation. But I think that such sermons border on becoming holy self-help seminars and miss the point of the Gospel completely.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we could be “good Christians.” He died and rose again so that we might become the righteousness of God We are saved by grace because there was no way in hell (literally) that we were ever gonna get their on our own.

So, if we really believe that it’s God’s grace that makes us followers of Christ and nothing we could ever do, where do we get off thinking that we can do anything to make us better Christians? Because, no matter how hard you try or how good or bad you are at doing the XYZs, you will always be a failure as a Christian. Go ahead and say it: “Hallelujah – I’m a failure.”

Until you do that, you’ll always be living like you’re trying to earn something you can never get and will never live like Jesus is really the Lord.

Posted on December 15th, 2006 | Failure, Jesus, The Gospel