If you know me, you know that I really like to work. Work for better grades. Work for a better future. Work harder to make myself better. Work to serve God better. My mind is constantly at work to see how I can improve and edit different areas of my life and can't honestly remember the last time I've been content with myself. Not complacent, but content with the person I am and the person I'm becoming. I see and dwell on what I'm not. It's exhausting, discouraging, and draining. Quite honestly, I've felt spiritually dead for a while. Meh. Rather than dwelling on the beauty of Christ, I subconsciously focus on me. That is the problem. It's pride. It's disgusting, ugly, and so far from the heart God.
The "Christian life" shouldn't be compiled of to-do lists, habits, accomplishments, and past grievances. A life compiled of such dismal idols bears witness to a hardened, perplexed heart and skewed perception of God. Think about it...why the heck would someone want to have anything to do with Christianity or God if that's what it looks like? Talk about a life-sucking kill-joy. Welcome to the Christian club...here's you're to- do list..oh, and by the way, you're supposed to look like this, think these thoughts, achieve these goals, and you aren't allowed to be different....no, thank you.
Following Christ should be simple. Not easy, but simple. Think about it. When Jesus calls his disciples to follow Him, He didn't tell them to change this, fix that, think this way, talk this way, don't do this, achieve these goals, and fit into this cookie-cutter definition.
Matthew 16:24-25 "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.' "
Holiness, purity, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control are an outflow of the Holy Spirit within. They are the natural pouring out of Jesus' grace and love alive within you and you dying. A radically beautiful, truly Christ-like life isn't something that can be achieved by check-list Christianity. I'm convinced it is quite rare & seen in the least-likely of places and people.
As we follow Christ, growth will be a natural result. Authentic relationship & growth aren't a result of habits and rules, but love. Beautiful, unearned, unaffected, simple. That's what we need.