LET me speak to you as a Christian in the first person. Not pointing the bone at anyone, allow me to paint a picture of the seventh chapter of Romans, verses 14 through 25, through my eyes, heart and soul.
If Paul was a sinner who did at times the thing he hated doing, and at other times did not do what he needed to do, what chance to stand as “saints” do we have? If a litany of Old and New Testament characters is immortalised as sinners in the most read book ever, why do we go on pretending we have it all together? But we do. Us Christians have that down to a fine art. We pretend and the world (as well as God and other Christians) sees right through us!
Note well these truths:
Sin is a contagion all through me and all through my lifespan. I myself am a man who daily gets it wrong; the things I think, what I say, how and why and when I do things. Not one day goes past when I don’t intentionally or unintentionally get it wrong. I am Christian. What this means in the simplest of terms is I have agreed with God that I acknowledge that in and of myself I’m no good — I need His help and saving, not simply to be saved into heaven, but to be saved from myself in my life now. As a Christian, God challenges me to live truthfully as a sinner saved by His grace. That means the masks and veneer and pantomime must go! And for the most part they do, and have… but the drive of inauthenticity is powerful.
The Christian call is not to live some perfect, inspiring life. No! That is a scam of the enemy. We think we’re glorifying God when we look good. When we give the impression we have all the right answers. That we’re a font of wisdom. Rubbish. We deny God anytime we appear to have strength. His strength is on maximum display when we’re weak and yet resist the deadly sins, greed, anger, pride, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony. Yet, we can’t even get that twenty percent right with a lifetime’s consistency. We all have a thorn (or thorns) in the side as Paul did, whether we’re Christian or not. We must stop trying to get it right. We must start admitting how wrong we are. Then the truth will liberate us!
Stop the guilt. Live! Godly sorrow which leads to confession and repentance is from God; the guilt that runs beyond godly sorrow is from His arch nemesis. Wherever we can we must stop living as guilty ones. That’s the irony of the good news; we who know how guilty we are find the ultimate freedom in that knowledge. Knowing we cannot get it right, that we need help, frees us of external or internal pressure to be better than we are.
The world cannot understand. Stop expecting it to. To the world, especially in this Day, any God-righteousness is self-righteousness. Our voices aren’t respected on any issue unless we first respect all voices. As Christians, especially as Christians, we’re not better than anyone else. Most non-believing people won’t believe that, but they unconsciously need to hear it. Non-believers expect us to be better than they are, especially morally, but they hate it when we attempt to perform to such a standard. We are better to reverse the flow; express humble certitude and occasionally surprise them with our devotion to godly ethics.
As Christians we’re doing it wrong. We always have, and we always will. Being Christian is not about being right, but it is about endeavouring to do right. There is a massive difference between the two.
We are no better witnesses of God and the Christian faith than when we admit we are wrong.