We all know good people.
They are loyal friends; they do volunteer work or help neighbors with house projects; they open doors for the elderly; they obey the law, and maybe even attend church.
There’s definitely something admirable about being a good person, especially when others benefit from it and acknowledge it as a fact.
However, as we’ve all most likely heard before, while it is a given that Christians should be good people (whether they all are or not is a topic for another time), Christianity is not a requirement to make people good.
Judas Iscariot followed Christ. He truly had good intentions right up until he betrayed Jesus. Cain, too, was a good guy who thought he was doing the right thing until God deemed his good deeds unacceptable.
So then, what’s the difference?
Neither were in God’s perfect will, doing things God’s good way.
In Luke 18:18-24 (KJV) Jesus encounters a rich young man who asks what he needs to do to “inherit eternal life.”
In his mind, he’d met all religious requirements. He was a good man who adhered to God’s laws; surely, he was qualified.
But when the Lord discerned the one thing lacking in his life–the one thing holding him back from a full surrender–the man became discouraged and unwilling to pursue the mission any further.
So it is with many people, both believers and unbelievers alike.
Some settle for living an honest life and doing good things for others, hoping it will be enough to get by; while some Christians settle for part of God’s promise instead of the entire deal.
|Columbia River Gorge falls, Oregon|
Think about it.
Calling yourself a Christian without really knowing Christ as a person is like knowing a lot about an amazing product, even believing it to be the best on the market, and never owning the product yourself.
No one wants to buy from a salesman who doesn’t even own what he’s peddling.
Why wouldn’t one want to get to know the Lord?!
He’s the Creator of all life; He’s the Author of all nature and history; He knows every thing and every one who ever was, is, and will be; He’s only good, and He only performs good deeds!
He’s a mystery yet He leaves His evidence everywhere. He cares deeply and is involved in all situations, even when He isn’t wanted or invited.
Yet even after knowing all of that and more, the majority of Christians are still satisfied with framing and showing off their Christianity 101 diplomas instead of taking advantage of free, unlimited access to God’s higher education.
We have the opportunity to spend quality time, daily, with the Professor Himself: The best of the best.
Instead we settle for the title of “Christian,” the appearance of upright and clean, and continue on in the same routine.
Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) states, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” In other words, our own attempt at being good is futile.
Morality, religion, service to others–all are good things, as long as they’re paired with and driven by Christ as a source and a goal to please.
We can NEVER attain Christ’s character on our own efforts.
Jesus can take us out of the world and make us upstanding citizens. He can polish us up. We can accept His sacrifice and acknowledge Him as our Savior.
But why stop there?
Most of us are familiar with the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32 (KJV) who wasted his inheritance, made a mess of his life, and then humbly retreated to his father.
The latter rejoiced and made as though no wrong had ever been done. However, his brother wasn’t all too thrilled about it.
This brother claims he had never done anything bad in his life. He couldn’t understand why such a fuss was made over this sinful, pathetic sibling of his.
What was his problem? He had never tapped into the wealth and blessings he was rightfully connected to. He never asked.
Yet his father told him “all that I have is thine.”
God is infinite–omniscient. I’ve heard it said it will take an eternity to fully understand Him. Tell me that doesn’t make your brain hurt a little to contemplate.
I’m not talking about solely attaining knowledge, like attending Bible college or becoming a Theologian. Knowledge without faith and revelation is pretty useless to God.
Let’s go beyond memorizing scripture and repeating nice lines.
If it worked for us, then it would have had to work for the supposed pious, religious Pharisees in the New Testament. But if you recall, Jesus was never too impressed with their actions.
He even stated that there will be people who come to Him at the end of time claiming they were good people, doing things on earth in His name, and they still won’t be allotted eternal life.
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” 2 Timothy 3:5 (KJV).
If someone were to anonymously comment on your character, how do you think they would describe you? Would they just gush about how nice of a person you are, or would they be able to say they feel God’s power and presence when you’re around?
When people look at you, do they see Jesus’ attributes?
By all means, do your best for the kingdom of God.
But don’t let a good life be good enough.
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