“Better” measures itself with improving behavior and activity. If I sinned less and engaged in more “spiritual” activity today than yesterday, my Christian life has advanced.
What a farce.
- Anger against someone carries the same weight as murder.
- Looking at a woman with lust equates to adultery of the heart.
- A slap on the face by an evil person requires me to offer the other cheek.
- When someone wants to take from me, I must give the person even more.
- When someone forces me to do something, I should go ahead and do more.
- I’m not supposed to refuse a person who wants to borrow from me.
- Those who hate me must be repaid with love.
- Christian activity like giving, praying, and fasting should not be done to impress others.
- Judging the behavior of others is akin to me judging myself.
- I must treat people as I want to be treated.
I can never live up to God’s standard.
But maybe this fact serves to push me toward the alternative. Maybe God sets the standard so high so as to encourage me to give up trying. Maybe only in the midst of my giving up can Christ become bigger in my life.
For years I lived a “yes, I can” Christian life. But the older I’ve become in my faith, the more I see the unfathomable gap between me and God. “Yes-I-can” has turned into “no-I-can’t.”
Jesus’ teaching buries any hope I might harbor of living righteously before God. He raised the bar of behavior so high, I can never jump over it. When you know you can’t do something, why even try?
It’s only a revelation of what I just described that turns my attention toward wanting a “bigger” Christ in my life. When I give up trying it’s an admission of my need for Him. Only when I decrease can Christ increase.
Jesus, I can’t, but You can.