Stop trying to be good

Do me a favor: forget good works. Don’t worry about your sin and whether or not you are pleasing God or not.

Scandalous?  Hear me out.

If your focus is on good works, works of righteousness, you have your eyes in the wrong place.

Let me ask you a question: what would bother you more, to miss a day of prayer or to get caught stealing? To skip a day in God’s word or to cheat on your spouse? (okay, that’s two questions.) If you are like me, you probably would be much more guilt-riddled at cheating on your spouse than skipping one day reading the Bible.

And therein lies our problem. Most of what I consider sin is really more about me than God. It is about my guilt, about the effect of my actions on me, about how it impacts my life.

But sin is truly about God. It’s about my inability to measure up to His holiness. It’s about my lifetime of rebellion. It’s about my habit of doing things for me instead of Him.

So skipping prayer really is as bad as cheating, because both are actually cheating on God.

So do me a favor and forget about good works. Forget about whether you measure up to the standard. You never will. Go back to the beginning and fall in love with Jesus. See yourself for who you are, a sinner that has been saved totally by an act of the grace of God. All righteousness must flow from that point of origin, or it is not righteousness at all…it’s just selfishness in disguise.

The interesting thing is what takes place next. When I stop focusing on good works and just fall in love with Jesus, the good works flow from me with ease. It’s no longer an effort to be good. Pleasing God takes no more effort than a man would have to work up to please to the woman he loves. Its a natural thing.

Here’s some good news. You can stop trying to be good. Get off the never-ending treadmill of “performance Christianity” and just fall in love with Christ.

You won’t believe what follows!

  1. #1 by Lorraine on February 17, 2011 - 11:56 AM

    Yes! Reminds me of Francis Chan’s “Lukewarm and Lovin’ it” message. I have become so aware this past year that my centre needs to be Jesus – to Love the LORD my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength – He is everything! And, as I was reading (again) in Tozer’s “Fellowship of the Burning Heart” last night, striving by His grace to a renewed vision of the holiness and glory of God. Loving Jesus is the fuel for our good works. Thanks for the great post. Sharing this around.

  2. #2 by Mark Murdock on February 17, 2011 - 2:19 PM

    I’ve got some similar thoughts I shared in a Facebook note recently. Check it out here:!/note.php?note_id=438363376798

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