REALISM is the kicker of life.
We really must laugh at that. We rail against the world when we are having a bad day, and, guess what, we might as well laugh. The reality is God owns the rules. It does us no good whatsoever to protest. We might as well say, “Okay, God, have it your way,” because he will. Always has. Always will.
Now is your choice to find yourself in a giddy smile. You have less control than ever.
But there is some good news in all this. We do get one choice. Do we live to suit ourselves and end up riled and frustrated or do we live to glorify God and get blessed? It really makes no difference to God. He sees us as foolish or wise, but always with the potential to be wise.
We might respond that we don’t live a life of sin even though we don’t call Jesus our Saviour. This is a thing that bamboozles many Christians — “but [the name of their non-Christian friend] lives such a good and loving life.”
Think of someone like this: a non-Christian who lives a ‘good’ life. Let’s test their attribution of goodness. Are they always good? Do they never disappoint, fail, betray, or hurt anyone? Are they so committed to goodness that they will suffer willingly for someone, anyone? (Yes, a lot of this is a challenge to us Christians, isn’t it? It should be.)
Because we can never be perfect — and yet we have the yearning to be perfect because we are made in God’s image — we are destined always to fall short. A good self-esteem might help us. But we are still not good enough on the scale of holiness. We might reason that away. “What does it matter?”
This is how it matters.
We are geared and purposed to align to a perfect and holy standard, and, because we can’t, of ourselves, we need a model, a Saviour. This is how it works: on the one hand our perfection is not the issue, so we have a way of reconciling matters of failure, in truth — i.e. we own up. On the other hand, we have holiness to aspire to; not a judging holiness that creates pressure for others, but a sanctifying holiness that we ourselves apply to ourselves. We are impelled to grow. The Christian life is a life of discipleship — being a slave to righteousness — and it’s nowhere near as scary as it sounds.
The premise of our life could be this prayer:
“Lord, help me to do better whilst helping me to not expect perfection of myself.”
We are slaves to something or other.
Should we be slaves to something not wholly good or to Someone holy good?
Lord, thank you for the presence of your peace,
The glorious irony: I’m your slave,
Now, because I’ve experienced your release,
Help me be yours till the grave. AMEN.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.