Sometimes living a Christian Life is exhausting.
Did I read my bible? Check
Did I love my neighbor? Check
Am I raising responsible children? Check
The list could go on and on. It takes a lot of effort and self-control but I’m pretty good at self-control. Certain kinds of it anyway. I’ve perfected the self-control that makes me look good in public…I never yell at my kids til we’re safely out of ear shot! And I’m great at contorting myself into the mold I’ve imagined as I read the Bible. The problem is, the mold I’ve imagined isn’t always what Jesus imagines. I read about “the behavior that comes with sound teaching” and I decide to apply it. I very much want to do the things that please God.
The problem, I’m finding, is self-control isn’t the same as freedom.
Self-control keeps me from doing a lot of stupid things. But it’s like the difference between a roller coaster and roller skates. Freedom is much more fun. Freedom is both relaxing and joyful; and not so vigilant. I find freedom when I give in completely to who God made me. When I repent for what I’ve done wrong and admit I can’t do this thing without Him. [Repenting, by the way, isn’t as scary as it sounds. It just means agreeing with what God thinks about a thing and matching my behavior or attitude to His perspective.]
After that I begin to change from the inside. I relax. Being free, I approach situations with a child’s confidence. Of course I can learn to walk. Of course I can be an astronaut when I grow up. My 4-year-old son was once so confident he could play basketball he asked me to sign him up for the NBA! There’s joy in freedom. Joy in the confidence that my heavenly parent could sign me up for something huge and it would be a blast. My self-reliant determination morphs into a joyful journey. I hold the hand of my Heavenly Father and learn that I Him happy.
Eph. 5:8-10 …Walk as children of the light – for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. (NET bible)