The default position of the human heart is set towards earning. We assume that we must work and work and work to achieve absolutely everything, including God’s praise.
“We all automatically gravitate toward the assumption that we are justified by our level of sanctification…We start each day with our personal security resting not on the accepting love of God and the sacrifice of Christ but on our present feelings or recent achievements in [religion]. Since these arguments will not quiet the human conscience, we are inevitably moved…to a self-righteousness which falsifies the record to achieve a sense of peace.” —Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life
Hit pause for a moment before heading out the door to worship or whatever it is on your calendar this day. Look at your heart and life. Consider its defaults position and ask yourself examining questions. Questions like, “Do I place too much stock in my own self-discipline?” Or, “Have I come to believe that I am saved by my own efforts and will?” Better still, “If someone were to look at my life, would they conclude the same?”
I struggle and fall into this trap far too often. I can allow how I am doing and how disciplined I am to become the measure of my relationship with God. I feel close and pleasing to Him when I am doing well; and distant and displeasing when I fall short.
Neither of those things is true. My standing before God does not change regardless of how early I get up, how much time I spend reading the Bible, or how I pray. It also does not shift or change when I choose to sin.
Right behavior and discipline are not the foundation of our relationship with God. Christ’s is. He measured up in every way we fall short and more.
Look to Christ for security instead of at your subjective performance. It’s a far more stable foundation. It will not fail.