I have not been able to find a Scripture in the New Testament where God says,"Try harder, just do the best you can.”
We are born with a selfish, self-centered, self-indulgent heart. From there, it only gets worse because we move from self- indulgence to self-improvement, creating self-proclaimed self-made men. Unfortunately, In the end, at the center of all we do is self.
In Romans 7 the apostle Paul brings that into focus:
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want...
Paul was not looking in his heart for the strength to be a new improved Paul, He admitted, "no good thing dwells in me." God is not interested in making a better version of me, but in that I find my place of surrender to his will so that I can die to self and He can create that “new creation " (II Corinthians 5:17)
Even beyond society's cult of self improvement is the growing number of "feel good" preachers making the same promises with scraps of scriptures veneered over with feel good promises. One pastor/author offers, Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. We have replaced the “eternity centered” good news with a man-centered feel good gospel. In today’s gospel, the focus is on “personal accomplishment and “finding myself."
Another preacher declares . . . “At the start of each new day, remind yourself: “I am talented. I am creative. I am greatly favored by God. I am equipped. I am well able. I will see my dreams come to pass.” Declare those statements by faith and before long, you will begin to see them in reality.”
The most important issue is not what "I am," but who He Is and What He Has Done. It’s not how hard you try, at the end of the day, it’s how hard you die. I promise to make myself meek ... get right â€¦ The closer I get to meekness, proclaiming my efforts to accomplish it, announcing my new-found humility. I have now managed to find my way to self-proclaimed pride.
In high school in the“meetings,”the 12 step guru told me that I needed to be willing to surrender to “a” power greater than myself. While that has a profound similarity to the gospel, real change happens not when you surrender to “a” power but to “the" power which can only be found in Jesus
It is much easier to do for God than to live from God. And even then, no matter how hard we try, we always seem to live with a nagging sense that we have not done enough. That focus on self is the clearest evidence that we have missed it. The key truth is that it t is not what we have done, but what He has done. We need to connect our posture on earth with our position in Christ --in heaven.
I’m not seeking a better version of me, but the death of the old me. Trying harder, adding to our effort can easily be carried into religion, or even worse into a relationship with the Lord Jesus. I am convinced that that is why Paul reminds us in Hebrews that we live, not by human effort but
"We live by faith, not by sight."
God’s plan is not behind you it is in front of you. Stop looking backward at the things you cannot change and embrace His promise as you reach for all that remains.
Trying is about self (what I can do)...
~ Trusting is all about God (what He has already done).
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