[from my notes] why i’m not a good Christian.

For a long time I’ve sought to debunk the idea of “good Christians.”

…I try to be a good Christian…

…He’s a good Christian…

…She WAS a good Christian…

What does that even mean, friends? I’m a word person. I love words.

Let’s look at “good”, the adjective. 

Friends, meet a really useful adjective: good. It can also mean of high quality, proper or correct. A high quality Christian…a proper Christian…a correct Christian. This would imply that there’s some kind of grading system for being a Christian…a rubric, if you will.

“10 points for not lying to your mom! 12 points there for choosing Christian music! Oooh, sorry… -5 for being jealous of his new phone.”

I don’t recall where in the Bible Jesus was calling out points to people like they were a student at Hogwarts. (10 points to Hufflepuff!) Being a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t involve checking good deeds off a list. Sure, there is a perfect Law for us to follow, but the beauty of God is that He stands in forgiveness. When He looks at you, He sees the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Your sin is gone…we can’t earn brownie points with God.

There’s no ranking system for His followers. After all, it says many times in the Word that, “The first will be last, and the last first.” We are all on the same level. Louie Giglio spoke at Passion Conference this year about how we are on the same level as the Saints in the eyes of God. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Christian for 20 years or 20 minutes, we all have received the same restoration and redemption. If something is good, we can assume that comparatively we can find something “better” or superlatively, “best.” That’s not how Christianity works. If there can’t be “better” Christians or awards for the “best” Christians…can there be “good” ones?

Jesus’s Response

In Mark 10, this conversation takes place:

“And as [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” (v 17)

Pause. This is the part where Jesus hands out the rubric to the class, right? Wrong. Let’s continue.

“And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” (v 18)

Okay, so…no grading system? But where do the bonus points come in? Can I get some extra credit, here?

Unless I have a faulty Bible, there’s nothing in the footnotes that imply that this verse means anything different in Greek.

Not only does (A) Christ not share the secret formula the rich man wanted to hear but He (B) also says that only God can be described as “good.” Only the creator of the universe is good. (I encourage you to continue reading in Mark 10.)

Anything that can be described as “good” within me stems from God; it IS God. Any “good” decision or “good” word out of my mouth is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus within me.

I am not good. Only God is good. I am not a “good” Christian. However, I AM a Christian filled with the goodness of God.

I pray you rest in the goodness that can only come from the One who formed you. He is love and life and all things beautiful. Seek Him. Seek His goodness within yourself and man…let it shine.

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[from my notes] comparing God to a chair.

I know a lot of people who have a “life verse.” A life verse is that Bible verse that carries you throughout your life…a line you always come back to…something that really hits home to you. I don’t know that I have ever really had a life verse. I have a lucky number (47) that pops up in my daily life…literally…I see that number every single day. It’s spooky. But a life verse? Mmmm…not so much. Until recently.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

I’ve read that verse more times in my life than I could possibly count. But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I really READ it…and understood it. My Iron Group (or Bible study group) is going through the book “Discerning the Voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer. In one of the chapters, she writes about this verse.

She says, “This doesn’t mean that He’s necessarily giving you what you want, but rather that He is in the process of transforming your soul to desire what He wants” (55).

Did you hear that? That was your brain exploding.

I’ve heard people (but mostly girls) talk about how:

– I’m choosing to wait on God because if I do, He’ll give me what I desire (AKA He’ll give me what I want AKA a boyfriend AKA a husband.)

– God will answer that prayer (for that husband) because it’s what I truly desire in my heart. And the Bible says He gives us the desires of our hearts!

– I really want to go to that college. I know I’ll get in because it’s what I want. I’ve done all the right things…God will get me through this (AKA God will send me an acceptance letter.)

Sound familiar? [insert buzzer sound] Wrong! This is a perfect example of how we’ve taken scripture and mighty morphed it to fit our needs. The Bible isn’t a magic 8 ball.

This verse is saying that God will give us the things in our hearts that we desire. He will put the desires in our hearts…not give us WHAT we desire. The more we choose Him, choose His way and His Word, the more of His desires He will give to us.

So, yeah it’s really interesting but why is it my life verse? How does this verse pick me up and carry me onward?

I have a nasty habit of wanting things. I’m a reader and a dreamer. I have a picture of how my life should look now and in 5 years…and in 10 years, etc. I tend to push aside what God is clearly showing me that He wants for me because it doesn’t fit into my plan. I don’t have room to pencil in His desires. This verse is constantly reminding me that when my focus is on Him and on furthering His kingdom, our desires align. I find myself wanting what God wants for me. I’m no longer making room in my plan for God…He IS my plan.

It’s like that latest Haverty’s commercial (you know…with the girl that looks like me?) I’m designing my life around the chair. Did I just compare God to a chair? I mean…it’s a good looking chair… Is that a stretch of a metaphor? Yes. But it made for a snappy title.

Delight yourself in God. Ladies, He made you as beautiful, dignified women whose purpose is to seek His face and foster relationships among believers. Fellas, you are leaders whose purpose is to further His kingdom in strength and loyalty. When you answer the call – when you live your life by His word – He fills you with His desires. What better existence could there possibly be?

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