Good Intentions are Just Not Enough

O wretched man [woman] that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25

I have a confession to make: I’m a hypocrite. Furthermore, I’m a phony, a sham, a fake—and there’s nothing I can do about it.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a book about to be released titled BEYOND ME: LIVING A YOU-FIRST LIFE IN A ME-FIRST WORLD. With all my heart, I believe in the topic/focus of the book—selfless, me-first living, centered in total and complete dependence and reliance on the life of Christ within us—and with all my heart I try to live that sort of life. The problem is that I can’t. In truth, I fail miserably at every turn—and so do you.

Most of us—particularly those who know and love Jesus—desire to live that sort of selfless life, but the harder we try to do so, the more time we spend failing and repenting and failing again. Why is that?

It’s because we’re not repenting of the root sin, that self-centered, self-serving pride that drives us all. The Apostle Paul understood it only too well when he cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Thank God for the next line, which declares, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul recognized his complete inability to be the godly man he so desired to be, but he also recognized that Jesus had fulfilled the righteousness and godliness that God requires of us, and that our beloved Savior extends His righteousness and godliness to us all—if we will but accept it. And that means more than accepting it in order to “purchase” our fire insurance to escape hell when we die. It means depending on His righteousness and godliness for each breath we take while still on this earth.

When I fail, my first reaction is to ask God to forgive the specific act of sin I’ve committed, whether it’s something blatant or scarcely noticeable to anyone else. That’s fine, but so long as I focus on trying to overcome that particular act, I’ll never make it. Good intentions simply aren’t enough. What we need to do on an ongoing basis, each time we fall short of the standard God requires of us, is to ask Him to forgive us for not loving Him enough. That truly is at the root of every other sin, isn’t it? It is only a deep and abiding love for Him that will be strong enough to keep me from disobeying Him and going my own way. And that, of course, is the heart of the “beyond me,” selfless, you-first living that should characterize the life and testimony of everyone who names the precious Name of Jesus Christ as Savior.

May it be so in each of our lives today, beloved, as we seek to love Him more….
Macias
Copyright 2008 Kathi Macias, all rights reserved. Used by permission.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored seventeen books. Her newest book “Beyond Me. Living a You-first Life in a Me-first World” (New Hope Publishers) The author can be reached at: http://www.kathimacias.com

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