Friday, June 3

Good Cop/Bad Cop - Stupid Jack

I wonder...

Am I worse at being a Christian than the other people at church, or am I just more aware of how screwed up I am?

The other day, as I was contemplating doing something I knew I shouldn't do, I stopped myself and gave myself a good talking to: "You know better than that. God doesn't want you to do that. You should do the right thing."

And so I didn't do what I was contemplating. I felt slightly better about myself and found the shadow of this thought floating through the detritus of my mind: I'll bet God is pleased with me for doing the right thing...

And just like that I realized what a fool I am.

I believed that God would be please by me doing the right thing. I imagined Him weighing my deeds in the balance and finding me worthy for doing the right thing, (or worthless for doing the wrong thing.)

Though I've always confessed that my fecal matter is malodorous to the Almighty, (and everyone else as well), I apparently still believe that my righteousness somehow impresses Him. I guess I honestly thing that my good deeds are NOT as repugnant to God as used, bloody bandages. What an idiot.

The New Testament clearly shows me that my evil deeds do not separate me from God and my good deeds do do not bring me any closer. My deeds - both good and evil, righteous and unrighteous - have no bearing of any kind on my relationship to God. With the death, burial, resurrection and glorification of Jesus, God has taken the whole issue of good deeds / bad deeds off the table. My sins mean nothing to God because they are all already paid for by the death of Christ, (and therefore forgotten by God). My righteous deeds are worthless to God, because they are dung by comparison to the righteousness of Christ. God approves of me not because I behave or don't behave but because I am in Christ .

This is such a radical way of thinking and living that I can barely wrap my head around it. I find it so much easier to condemn myself for my failings or to praise myself for my successes - yet both of these imposters are worthless to me and repugnant to God. He is utterly pleased with Christ, and is utterly pleased with me in Christ.

My deeds - both "good" and "bad" - are death for me, death if I place any value or trust in them at all. But if my trust is in Christ, then my life is in Him. He is the Vine, I am one of his branches. Whatever life is in me is His life. As the life of the vine is in the branch, so the life of Christ is the life of Jack.

4 comments:

Brad Whittington said...

One of these days I'd like to hook back up with you. I'm travelling all over the place, but not to AZ much. You do any travel these days?

Atticus said...

I'm in LA as much as AZ these days. Generally stay downtown at the Marriott. Any chance of seeing you there?

irRational said...

Thank you so much for this post. It is earthshaking to read this and be reminded of the worthlessness of MY deeds ALL of them. THANK YOU!!!!

dowehaveaclue said...

What do you mean by "if my trust is in Christ, then my life is in Him?"