If the abundant life is God’s standard for me then why does victory seem so elusive? Why am I not experiencing joy and peace in my life but rather I find it so easy to yield to temptation. Although we face opposition from the world and the devil, I find that I encounter the most trouble from myself.
The Cure by Thrall, McNicol, and Lynch describes two pathways that lead to two rooms that are the primary motivations how we live our lives. One pathway is pleasing God and it leads to the room of good intentions. The other pathway is trusting God and it leads to the room of grace. Our problem with the pathway of trusting God is that it doesn’t seem that we do anything. There is a great appeal to live in the Room of Good Intentions. We enter this room by striving to be all that God wants us to be. We think if we can just get rid of our sin problem then we’ll be right with God. There is a banner in this room that states,
WORKING ON MY SIN TO ACHIEVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
This room however, is predicated on a lie reducing godliness to a formula: More right behavior + Less wrong behavior = Godliness. The problem with this equation is that it disregards the righteousness God has already placed in us. We disregard the righteousness that comes from trusting what God says is true about us. The truth is we can never resolve our sin by working on it. Sure we may externally sublimate behavior for a while but we miss the heart of the problem. Although this distorted theology breaks our hearts time and again, we desperately keep trying it.
Out of frustration we may seek another way – we journey down the path of trusting God that leads to the room of grace. Rather than self-effort this room is entered by humility and the banner in this room states,
STANDING WITH GOD, MY SIN IN FRONT OF US, WORKING ON IT TOGETHER
You may think this sounds to good to be true. The Judaizers in the Apostle Paul’s day hated it. They said. “These people are immature, lazy and have little religious background. They’ll abuse their freedom, they’ll live Christianity-lite. These people are weak and want to do whatever they want.” This objection however overlooks two key truths:
1. Christians have a new nature: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You’re not who you were – it’s Christ in you, the hope of glory.
2. Christians have the Holy Spirit: “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). The Holy Spirit counteracts the downward pull of sin in our lives.
As you consider these two rooms, which room do you think takes sin more seriously? At first glance, the room of good intentions seems to be our first choice – after all we’re working on our sin to overcome it. But the reality is we’re doing it in our own strength. The room of grace however, realizes that we can’t handle our sin problem and it relies upon God to enable us to overcome the sin that is keeping us from the abundant life. We discover that we please God as we trust God,
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5