On Being a Good Christian

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I’ve been a Christian all my life. Being born into a Christian family, I never had a “conversion experience” where I turned dramatically from darkness into light. God didn’t suddenly reveal Himself to me, but rather slowly, through many sermons, Lord’s Day worship services, and the examples of the godly people who have always surrounded me.

Like Kate in Stepping Heavenward, I have grown up wanting to be a good Christian. Like Kate, my teenage years were filled with moments of inspired resolutions to “try harder” and “do better” as well as times of frustration at my lack of progress. I knew in my mind that I couldn’t “do better” by “trying harder” on my own. The Holy Spirit has to help me. And so I would pray, “God, help me do better. I can’t do it on my own.” Then I would get up and try harder.

But reading Stepping Heavenward again has helped me see that the Christian life isn’t about being a “good Christian.” Being a Christian means that God so loved me that He gave up his only begotten Son so that I might not perish but have everlasting life! He has chosen me to be one of His beloved children, He sent His son to die for me, and He filled me with His Holy Spirit. When I think about God’s love and all He’s done for me, my love for Him deepens and His commandments become something I can do to please Him rather than a code of good behavior. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15

God has given me the hope of eternal salvation and made me one of His children. He created this amazing, beautiful world and put me in it with a loving family, a faithful husband, and the cutest baby that ever lived. He has written down all I need to know to live a happy and peaceful life in a book that tells me over and over how much He loves me and cares about me. Thought about that way, the Christian life ceases to be one of “trying harder” to “do better” and becomes one of joy.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous all together. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalm 19: 7-11

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