Sunday, April 14, 2019

Never enough

Does your ego every get the best of you? Do you find yourself having to 'put forward' something great you have accomplished just so others know you have accomplished it? If this is a tendency in your life, you are not alone. There are bunches and bunches of us that have been caught up in that trap from time to time. We get so focused on whatever it is we have accomplished and then we want everyone to know we have done it! We find ourselves prouder than can be and we want everyone to know it. Impressions only are made once - isn't there some kind of statement as to that truth? Doesn't it go something like, "You only get one chance to make a first impression?" Well, what impression have you been trying to make with God? Do you honestly think he finds your 'first impression' all that great? If you are like me, the first impression you put forward to him was a 'fake one' because you were ashamed by the real one!

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. (Galatians 2:20 MSG)

When we identify completely with Christ, allowing him to be the central focus of our lives, we find what is 'put forward' isn't us, but it is him! We don't need to make the first impression on our own merit any longer. It is him in us that is seen - this life we live now "in Christ" is kind of different because we don't have to impress God to have an audience with him! We have an audience with him because of who lives within us! The things we think of us as giving us a good reputation are really nothing compared to the indescribable work of grace within our lives when Jesus takes control of who we are and what we are doing.

The very essence of ego is based upon a focus that requires us to put forward something that will dazzle or impress others. "WE" need to be central in their eyes and therefore, WE put ourselves forward for all to see. The truth is that there isn't much good in me apart from Christ. That may seem a little harsh to some, but I know it to be true in my life. I am not going to sugar-coat this one for you, because there is nothing good that comes out of putting things out there that aren't true. The fact of the matter is that apart from Christ, no good thing dwells within me. It is his life living within me that makes what I do and how I do it 'good'. 

Goodness is God's gift - it is a result of his grace refining our otherwise a little too self-focused lives into somewhat of a beautiful thing. Apart from his life within, the only hope we have is to continually try to do 'enough', be 'good enough', get 'enough', and in the end, never really find 'enough is enough'. The freedom that comes from living the life Christ calls us to live is that 'never enough' takes a backseat - because we have 'all that is enough' in him. Just sayin!

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