Dear Bad Christian,
You look tired. Have you slept recently? Or do you lay awake, wondering if you’re good enough to represent this great God? Do you stress about not loving Him back like you should? Do you wonder why the love doesn’t flow easily since you have been so dearly loved by your Father?
You’re a bad Christian, or at least that’s what you call yourself. You aren’t as holy as that Bible study leader or as amazing as that evangelist or as loving as the missionary or as patient as the mother of eleven children who lives next door. You try, but it isn’t enough.
No, you’re the kind of Christian who makes the same mistake a thousand times in a row. You’re the kind of Christian who forgets to pray. You’re the kind of Christian who skips Bible reading because you “don’t feel like it.” You’re the kind of Christian who gets angry and judges people and has envy and gives into temptations.
So you get back up and try, try, try really hard to earn this thing called God’s love.
You can take a rest, you know.
You’ve been working so hard after this unattainable thing called perfection. You’ve been striving after earning what God delights to give you for free. You’ve been working for a gift that is already set before you.
There’s no such thing as a bad Christian, because once you pass from death to life in the spiritual sense, the old is gone. It is no longer you who live, but Christ who lives in you. The implications? Christ is the end of the law to all who believe. That means you and I can stop striving after this following of law (whether made by God or man) and dive into this deep ocean called grace.
I think the problem is that, even though many of us acknowledge that salvation can never be earned, we still want to do something. So, we try to DESERVE it. We think, “If I’m a good Christian, God will be happy He saved me. God will have a reason to love me forever and ever. He will approve of me.”
Remember this: Just as we do nothing to earn God’s love, we can do nothing to deserve it. That’s the beauty of the gospel. God, rich in mercy, saved people who were incapable of paying Him back, and who were also unable to ever ever merit the gift He had given.
The pressure is off, my friend. You’re not a bad Christian, because your Christ is strong enough and big enough and great enough to save you, without you doing anything one way or another. You’re not a bad Christian, because your faith has really very little to do with you. It is God who works in you, God who keeps you, God who loves you with an everlasting love. That love will never, ever change.
Do you believe Him?
I once thought of myself as a bad Christian. But now, God is teaching me the value of seeing His love in light of what Jesus did for me on the Cross, back when I was dead in my transgressions and sins. If He could love me on that day, what could stop Him from loving me today?
Don’t get caught up in the striving. Rest in His finished work and know that when all is said and done, you are very loved.