Day 22: When You Can’t do Anything Right
I’m spending each day here in the month of October writing about finding beauty in the everyday mess. Before you think I’m an expert on this topic, let me confess: I’ve likely already lost my temper, prayed that I could have a solo vacation, and held back frustrated tears this morning. I’m far from having this mastered. I’m writing here transparently so that you and I might grow in seeking His daily extravagant beauty. So pull up a chair and get ready to dive into the mess with me, knowing that somewhere in this mess is a beauty that only God can craft.
I don’t know about you, but I live in a house full of wretched sinners: the chief of whom is me.
Every day is filled with whining, explosive rage, sighs of defeat, and someone crawling into a closet or bathroom just to get away from it all. Again… those might all be my problems. Ahem.
But here is how the gospel informs me about living right in the middle of a mess of sinners.
See, first of all, not one of us is capable of real change on our own. Sure, I can pridefully over plan our day so that I and them will have what seems like no place for sin to appear. And then Bronwyn will unexpected shove some other kids tricycle handle a the park right into Aeralind’s mouth. Blood will erupt everywhere, a triumphant smile will arise in the now proud user of the tricycle and I will have to begrudgingly clean up blood and deal with the beautiful mess of these two little hearts. Oh, and did I mention that I can’t even see Sedryn during this whole event; I can hear him cry “Pane! (Plane)” every once in awhile and the playground is gated so at least he’s somewhat safe. Until, of course, he throws a fit and has to be carried to the car flailing when it’s time to leave for his much needed nap.
I nor my children can earn our way to heaven with our “goodness.” We obviously can’t even handle a simple park excursion well enough to call it good. I think that may discourage some of my readers, but I’m going to say it again: we can’t earn our way to God or heaven by doing more good things than bad thing and this is the best news of the gospel. You can’t earn your way into God’s favor and that is the best news you will ever hear.
Think about it: why are Muslim youth so tempted by the suicide missions of extremist groups? Because they feel like they have to do enough good things to get to heaven. Why do primitive tribes still practice child sacrifice? Because they feel like they have to do enough good things to please a god who is angry at their failure to do right. Why do so many ‘Christian’ Americans put on a mask that shows the rest of the world that they are doing all the right things and never show their own failures? Because they feel like they have to do enough good things to get God’s approval.
When I am responsible for doing enough good to merit God’s approval, then I am hopeless. When God in Jesus Christ was responsible for doing all the good I can’t do because He loved me first, then I have eternal hope. That eternal hope and endless love is what changes a man through the Holy Spirit working in him. It’s the only way a man can change.
So how does this truth change us in our daily lives? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments and I’ll toss in my thoughts tomorrow.