most people think that because i’m a writer and editor, i read a lot. honestly, i don’t. after editing documents all day, the last thing i want to do when i come home is read.
but a couple of weeks ago, I was home alone. and instead of sitting in front of the tv all weekend, or going to the movies alone (i’m not that brave), i decided to check out a book that a friend of mine recommended. let’s just say so far, it’s an intriguing recommendation. the book is called Connecting by Larry Crabb, and it’s inspiring this post. it’s one of those books where the pages turn yellow, not from age or from sitting outside, but because i’ve highlighted so many words, sentences and paragraphs.
don’t worry, i’m not going to review the book. or even give you a book report. i just need a space to process through something.
crabb writes that before a person begins a relationship with Jesus Christ, there is nothing good in him or her. it’s our sin nature. it’s depraved, broken. don’t believe him? just try to be good and perfect all the time. yeah, how long did that last? not so long? that’s what he’s talking about.
it’s what the apostle Paul writes about numerous times in the book of Romans. (Romans 4 and 5 are examples.) we put no confidence in our flesh—in our human, sinful nature—but in Christ alone.
but when a person begins a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is placed in that person as a deposit (2 Corinthians 5:5 NIV). it’s a gift. Paul wrote: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8 NIV). God dwells within you. the apostle Paul wrote humbly that his sin nature was the bad in him (Romans 7). in our flesh is no good thing, but as followers of Christ, we are more than flesh and blood.
now i don’t know about you, but i’m very aware of how not good i am. there is no pretense in me, no illusion of perfection. i can name off my weaknesses quicker than my strengths. so i’ve always read that verse and thought, “you think i’m so good? not really. that’s just Jesus who lives in me. He’s the good roommate.”
i’m not the good one. He is. oh, sure, He dwells within me, but it’s not like there’s any good thing about me. i’m the bad roommate, the slob. the guy who eats his roommate’s leftovers, and leaves nothing but empty containers. the one who leaves dirty clothes and pizza boxes all over the places. the one who never flushes the toilet.
Jesus is the good one.
but crabb is shaking up my perspective on the words of the apostle Paul. he says that Christ places that goodness in us, and makes us good. so that the goodness you see in me, is the result of Christ, but it’s now mine too. because of Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice, i am now good. and i can pour out that goodness to others.
and the reason is because in our flesh is no good thing, but as a follower of Christ, i am more than flesh and blood. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV).
so when you see something in me that’s good, yes, it’s good because of Jesus Christ. but it’s also a part of who i am as a follower of Christ. Jesus took who i am, with my unique personality, gifts, experiences and quirks, and made them good. He redeemed me. He’s not just the good residing in me, He has made me good too.
now i don’t always act in the “good,” Christ-transformed nature. but it is in me. sometimes i act in ways that are contradictory to who God says i really am.
like i’ve said, i’ve always been keenly aware of how NOT good i am, even if others thought i was. i knew my thoughts, actions, motives. and i can assure you that i’m far from perfect.
but because of Jesus, i am good. it’s part of who i am.
i’m going to have to let that one marinate for awhile until the truth sinks in.
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image courtesy of flickr.com/creative commons/by billerickson