The way some view the Christian life, you’re only serious about following Jesus if your every breath and waking moment is consumed with making yourself better. This is what it means to be a “good Christian.”
Every behavior must be scrutinized, analyzed, and fretted over, and if you let up for even a minute, the devil will take you down. Of course, I’m being overly dramatic, but I’m intimately acquainted with this way of thinking because it’s how I’ve operated in the past and still struggle with at times.
It’s exhausting and ultimately fruitless because it’s all done in your own strength, force of will, and reasoning. Any gains you make are unsustainable because you’ve lost sight of grace.
Grace doesn’t ask you to prove your seriousness with constant worry and fear about your habits and behaviors. Don’t get me wrong… That’s not to say they don’t matter.
Your negative habits and behaviors have the potential to seriously hurt you and/or others, but pushing yourself to the brink then beating yourself up when you fall short isn’t going to change you.
You make yourself frantic in order to prove you care about sin and take it seriously when grace calls you live a care-less life.
It’s completely counter-intuitive and counter-cultural. The more you trust that His grace is working within you, the more you see true change.
Grace is enough to better you, but that’s not even the point.
Jesus shed His perfect, precious blood not to make better people but new creations. That’s the revolution of grace!
Yes, I want to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), but I can’t possibly do this in my own strength. They come too fast to get them all! No, it’s in trusting grace and growing in relationship with Him that I even understand how those stray thoughts are detrimental and do something about them.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. —Philippians 4:8
Strategies to stop bad behavior are not equivalent to thinking on truth, purity, excellence, and all this verse tells us. Everything listed there is easily a descriptor for God.
He made a way for you to be care-less and I personally think you should take Him up on it. Your fears and worry can never produce what one drop of His blood can.
It’s time to stop trying to be a “good Christian” and trust that He’s made you a new creation. That will allow you to grow into the fullness of that truth.