Good Christians are a myth

There is no such thing as a “good” Christian.


Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God,  to gain God’s favor and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.

But “good” Christians don’t exist.In addition, if someone is declared a ” Good”  Christian  that means somewhere there has to be a bad Christian and a superior Christian and a poor Christian. Do you see the judgmental comparison trap we’d get ourselves into?

The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort. That’s called living in the flesh. It is contradictory to walking in the Spirit and has nothing to do with following Christ or honoring God

In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything.  The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life allowing him to live His life through us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5.

 

Self is a four-letter word

When we use, or you hear someone use the word “try” that means “self” is vying for control. Self is

assuming responsibility. Super responsibility. That’s not a good thing.

Self tries to live the Christian life. Self does good Christian work. Self loves to chair committees. Self likes to volunteer in the food pantry and the clothes closet.  Self loves to teach Bible Study. Self lives to volunteer. Self never says no. Self is “self” confident. Self likes to think it’s “self-sufficient”.

Self likes to play leader. Self becomes arrogant when someone has a better idea than self.  Self thinks it knows best. Self worries. Self gets full of self. Self stands up for self’s rights. Self knows how to do things right around its church. Self pouts when it doesn’t get its own way. Self is unyielding in its attitudes towards others. Self looks for greener grass. Self seeks greatness and  notoriety for its achievements and holiness. Self is judgmental. Self is self-conscious. Self takes even constructive criticism personally. Self likes to be right. But self is humble. If you don’t believe it ask self.

Self is such a failure.

Self needs breaking. As long as self seeks to be in control God can do little in self or through self. But self can not break its will to God’s will. It has to be a sanctifying work of God and God alone. Coming to the end of self is a life-long journey coming to the ultimate realization that “self” is not as smart or wise as “self” thinks.

Paul said in Philippians,

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Those verses are tough pills for self to swallow. And it’s only by the sanctifying work of Christ living in us that we can ever get to the end of self.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

 That’s the end of self. The end of you. The end of me.

How we got here

Occasionally I like to remind myself how I got here.

So I trace my steps from my godless birth in Adam  to my intimate eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that I enjoy every day. I had little to do with creating the intimate relationship. In fact God did it all.  my entire participation in his process amounted to accepting the gifts he freely gave me.

We all have a similar biography.  Read Ephesians chapter 2 and you’ll discover that Paul seems to have captured our story there.

From death to life

 our life in Christ

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We were dead in our trespasses and sins but God crucifed his only son on the cross so you and I could be free from the life of sinners forever.

Our old self crucified

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin—

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ on the cross so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” That does not mean we will never sin again. It means that forever we are free from the control of sin foreveFor if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!r. Sin no longer has power you control our lives. So God takes away our old self,our old life of sin away from us.

He freely gives his life to us

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the life of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

Now He lives his life through us

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

Lessons God teaches us

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When God said “No”.

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What is truth?

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“I’m sorry”–now a “Christian” cliche

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I couldn’t survive without my G.P.S.

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Must we confess our sins to be forgiven?

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The majestic, simple Gospel

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What’s your TQ–your Trust Quotient?

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I deleted a post

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Where will you go when you die?

Kemosabe1
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Why forgive?

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God’s free gift of grace, to me, is. . .

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God answered critical Tucson prayer.

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Why can’t we understand “free”?

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My inevitable but necessary 31-day sabbatical has ended. I am home. I will publish my next “For His Glory” post on Wednesday, May 17.

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It won’t get any better

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Today is National Bipolar Day

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Do I have to draw you a picture?

“Well, [pause] yes,” he said. [Pause again] “Sometimes you may have to.” Continue reading →

How do we know the one true Church?

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Baskin Robins Christianity

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7 ways to resolve conflicts

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Whole lotta shoutin’ goin’ on

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What is your TQ-Team IQ?

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Failure in 2017

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Banging on the door

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Do you ever use the “J” word in public?

Did you inow . . . Continue reading →

We can’t end racism, stop abortion or save the world for Jesus.

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Sharing scars

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What is the church doing about mental illness?

Nothing.

But church folks can minister to families struggling with mental illness in effective, loving ways. Continue reading →

What ever happened to “Discussion”?

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How to argue with an atheist

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Why do “they” go to church?

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He brought his Bible to church and they thought he was strange

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Let go (of what?) and let God

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My response to the tragic murders in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernadino and beyond

Editor’s Note: I wrote this blog post two days before the
police murders in Baton Rouge.

A fellow blogger on Bloggermeetup.com challenged us to write a blog post conveying our thoughts and feelings about the killings in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernardino and beyond. Here I goes . . .

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How do you look at things?

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Bill Gates rules for life and living

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Letter to Millennials from the Frustrated Church

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Chained to the past

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The United(now and then)States of America

why

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Ten excuses for not changing

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Come on. Get Up!

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We change our clothes, we change our minds, but . . .

we often fear
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“I wish I hadn’t done that.”

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Do you have a big but?

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Dear Mom, I missed you yesterday

Mom,

Yesterday in church Pastor Gearl recognized all the moms in the audience. His message was about how important a good mom is to her family and to others. I wish you could have been there with me.

I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since Jesus called you home.  I sure do miss you. I can’t count the times I’ve wanted to pick up the phone and call you. I loved to call you and share some way God blessed me, or tell you about something exciting or fun I did that day. 

My conversations over the years with you and Dad created some of my most precious memories. Though we spent most of our lives living a thousand miles apart, I loved being able to pick up the phone and connect with you just to chat.

You gave me something few of my friends here share. For almost 60 years you gave me consistency. You stayed married to each other, despite some extremely difficult times. No matter where I was, or what I was doing, or not doing, I could always pick up the phone and dial 712-246-2655. You were always there. I often brag about my hometown and my wonderful growing up years in my loving family to my friends. Most of them marvel at the wonderful childhood I enjoyed in our small Iowa hometown. Many of my friends have never known the consistence and security you and Dad gave me.

I know we didn’t have a perfect life, either. I know I gave you more than my share of grief and heartaches. For all those, I am genuinely sorry.

I have to confess, Mom: the day you died, I was absolutely jubilant. Not because you died, but because I knew where you were. Your suffering from the cancer that took you from us was over. Not only was I jubilant because I knew where you were. I was jubilant because I knew that someday we would be reunited and basking in the love of Jesus in God’s Kingdom forever. We’ll never be apart again. We’ll never know pain or suffering or sorrow or dismay or any other health problems. And you’d never have to fuss at me again to pick up my clothes.

What a glorious day that will be!

Until then, Mom, please know that I love you and miss you still. I am grateful for everything you were to me, everything you gave me, everything you taught me, and everything you did for me.

I will always love you,

Your loving son, Steve

Target stores pander to LGBTs; and the bride’s wearing soiled undies.

CAUTION: Today’s post contains a frank, candid discussion of the state of the bride of Christ. To err on the side of caution, I recommend it for adult readers only.

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