What are some of the most frequent phrases you hear in a given day?
Maybe it’s a greeting like, “How are you doing?” Or, at a business, “May I help you?” If you’re at home you might often hear something like, “Mommy, I need [fill in the blank].”
A frequent phrase I hear from many Christians, including myself, is “try to”. Usually in something like these contexts:
“I haven’t been reading my Bible as often. I need to try to do that more.”
“I need to try to get better about being more involved in church.”
“I’ll try to start memorizing more Scripture, I just haven’t yet.”
Believer, do you realize that God is not more or less impressed with you by your performance?
I warmly invite you to stop trying.
Consider this, the Gospel is done. Christ’s life and death of active obedience is complete. He has satisfied the wrath of God on our behalf (atonement) and offered to us His own righteousness so we can be holy and blameless before God (justification). You don’t have to do anything else to make God more satisfied with you than what Jesus has already done.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:7-10, ESV)
What you can do is respond to the Gospel in faith and obedience. You can live your life as an act of worship and make much of the God who saved you. Respond out of love, not a sense of guilt-ridden duty.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22, ESV)
Remember that grace abounds – it has already abounded – in our inadequacy.
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6, ESV)
Friends, stop trying – start responding.