I never met the Bible teacher personally, but somehow he knew exactly what was going on inside of me. As if he was speaking only to me, he pinpointed the source of my frustration—trying harder, doing better and being better.
It’s a path that doesn’t lead to godliness, or to joy or peace.
I was living proof. The harder I tried to be God’s guy, the more I sinned. The more I sinned, the more I tried harder to be good. It was a vicious circle which left me exhausted and frustrated.
I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how the Christian life was supposed to work. “Trying harder” wasn’t the answer. At that time in my life, Colossians 1:21 described my inner turmoil to a tee: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”
That is where “trying harder” leaves us—feeling like we are God’s enemy. But that is not true. Christ’s death on the cross shows the real story of God’s heart toward us. As Paul wrote, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:22, 23).
As my Bible teacher pointed out, I was holy in God’s sight, without blemish and free from accusation. I didn’t feel that way then, but that was and is the truth. Christ’s reconciling work on the cross made it so.
I was trying to make it so by “trying harder.” Here is a shocking truth. The phrase “try harder” is not in the Bible. You can’t find it anywhere. What you do find is faith. The Christian life is lived by faith in Jesus. It is all about trusting the One who loved you and gave himself for you. Faith in Jesus is the simple route to victorious living.
That’s a life worth living!
Once I started resting in the love of God and took my focus off of my behavior, I began to experience freedom and joy as never before.