EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, we looked at how God never says If Only… This week, I’d like to look at how learning that truth changed the focus of my own life now that I know He loves me just as I am.
The temptations in this world are all pointing us toward the same thing: If only we could be like God (without His help). When I took up that effort, I became controlling, constantly swinging between feelings of shame and pride, and looking for comfort anywhere but in Christ.
Sure, I did some good stuff, but my church attendance, Bible reading, and “righteous” deeds were nothing but cheap polish on the clay jar that God made me to be.
Somehow, I imagined that all this effort at perfection would make the Gospel more appealing to others, allowing God’s kingdom to grow. Yet it was all folly.
You see, God never intended for me to polish my own jar, to make the vessel impressive. My self-righteous deeds were like filthy rags before Him. All of the glory I was seeking was for me, not for Him. And all such glory is fleeting.
So now, I’ve set down that desire for self-won godliness, and instead pursue full-surrender to God instead.
But what exactly does that look like? For me, it started with rejecting the impressive things I wanted to do and doing the hard things I knew God was calling me to do:
- I became transparent and open with some God-fearing friends.
- I was finally honest with my wife and faced the evil I was doing to her.
- I began making humble sacrifices instead of prideful excuses.
In reality, though I didn’t do anything. I merely allowed God to finally do what He wanted to do: Pour me out like an old, clay pot so that His life could be what fills me up.
And with His new life in me, I now get to live knowing that He is perfectly pleased with me doing the things He has called me to do, which sets me free from constantly wondering what I could become if only I were doing more…