Don’t try too hard to be a “good Christian”

I try so hard to be a “good Christian,” but my efforts at being a “good Christian” often leave me living a façade type of faith—trying to keep up appearances as a “good Christian.” 

There are a couple of significant problems with trying so hard to be a “good Christian.”  1: As long as I am focused on my efforts to be a “good Christian,” my faith is focused on me rather than on Christ.  What good is a faith like that?  It is basically a self-improvement kind of life, which often leads to defeat and disappointment.  2: The harder I try to keep up the façade of being a “good Christian,” the more I grow out of touch with the actual feelings and struggles inside of me.  One writer expressed accurately what goes on inside of me: “Anger tops the list of feelings ‘good’ people shouldn’t express, so they bury the anger they feel about the imperfections they see in the environment, in others and in themselves.”

King David lived no façade-like faith.  Nor did he bury his anger while trying to be a “good” believer.”  The first eight verses of Psalm 58 read, “Do you rulers indeed speak justly?  Do you judge uprightly among men?  No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth.  Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.  Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.  Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O Lord, the fangs of the lions!  Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted.  Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun.”

David did not try to hide his anger over unjust rulers in the land.  He did not present to God a façade of being a “good” believer.  He came to God with all that was actually percolating inside of him.  He poured out his genuine heart to God.

That’s what God wants from us.  Only when we give to God what is really in us, can God deal with the real us. 

From psalms like this, I learn the importance of being genuine with God—even if it does not seem to be the “good Christian” thing to feel or do, for only when we are genuine with God can God genuinely deal with us.

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