There are essentially two ways that we try to make it through this life. All other systems and structures fall under one of these overarching ways of living.
We can live by being good. Or we can live by grace. These two ideas, though they may seem similar, are actually light years apart and vastly different from one another. And you can’t do it both ways. (Technically, you could try, but you would drive yourself nuts since they don’t work well together).
GOOD says that all of life depends on me. My happiness, purpose and meaning all flow from my ability to make things happen; to keep the rules, to make enough money, to stick with a tough marriage, to pay off debt and save for retirement, you get the picture. In short, my hard work and effort will get God’s attention, and if my good outweighs my bad, then God will let me into heaven.
GRACE is anchored in an entirely different reality, the reality of my inability to do anything good at all and God’s complete ability to be perfect in every area where I fail. Grace also says that everything I need in life has been provided for me by God through Jesus, and that all my identity and meaning and purpose is found, not in what I do, but in what Jesus Christ did.
GOOD says I need to try harder. But when I do, I get more frustrated because I fail more.
GRACE says I need to surrender more to Christ who already paid off all my debts. I rest in the love of God and don’t kill myself trying to keep rules or measure up.
I pick grace. Being good stinks. Because I am not good enough, so I can never be good enough, no matter what new angle I take.
I pick grace because it makes way more sense; it liberates me to be a child … A CHILD … of God instead of some intellectual, academic, know-it-all do-it-by-myself adult who is really insecure and aware of my own imperfections while trying to pretend that I have it all together.
I think you should pick grace. Unless you are the exception to the human rule … and you are perfect. Because if you pick good, you had better be REALLY good. Like, better than Jesus.
I wouldn’t bet on it. Just pick grace.