The year began with my Christian friend asking me how I was planning to be a “better believer” in 2013. “Are you going to read your Bible more consistently? Are you going to be a better spouse? A better parent…perhaps?”
Much to his dismay, I replied, “Neither…I don’t have any plans.”
After a brief moment of silence, he asked me why I had given such a blunt answer. My response was not intended to cause anguish or disappointment. Instead, my retort was given because of my realization that I simply cannot be better.
A “better believer” is synonymous to being more religious; a scale where the good is offset by the bad. As for me, my scale is corrupted. Whenever I have tried to be more patient, more caring, or even more studious in my Bible reading, I have failed miserably. Many times during the course of my Christian life, I have tried to read self-improvement books or disciplined myself to strive to be a better me. All of my attempts were unsuccessful until I began to understand that I was not to be the focus.
My botched efforts as an adult led me to the cross of Jesus Christ where He then became my focus. As I continuously confessed my sins and shortcomings to the Lord, I began to grow in awe and wonder of my Savior’s love for me. Consequently, an irresistible Savior who I longed to please and obey replaced my lenses of shame and embarrassment for not measuring up to my own set of standards.
As a result, I began reading my Bible regularly because I wanted to spend more time with God and not because I felt it was the “right” thing to do. And even becoming a better wife grew out of my desire to please my Heavenly Father and not out of a sense of duty or obligation.
The words of the Apostle Paul remind us of the transformational work that began at the cross,
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
May the love of our irresistible God dwell in our hearts in 2013.