In case you read the title and thought, “Finally!!!”, I hate to disappoint. But I must! Instead of a call to mischief, I’d like to challenge you by means of a question: What might happen if instead of trying to “be good” we decided to “be better”?
Trying to “be good”, especially as it relates to living victoriously for Jesus, sets the bar in a particular place — one where our success is gauged by the approval of men, rather than pleasing the Lord. (For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 [ESV]) This place is sometimes set for us by ourselves, but most often, we set that bar as a result of observing the lives of others or listening to their words. The danger is that we would either realize “I’m already better than them” and fail to grow or we would begin to believe that the goal is unattainable and, again, fail to grow. (For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12 [KJV])
For the sake of pleasing Christ, I think we need to put aside comparison as a means of judging our rate of success and begin to measure our “real” progress. (For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. Galatians 6:3-4 [ESV])
~ If you prayed today, when you didn’t yesterday, that’s improvement.
~ If you worshipped today, when you didn’t yesterday, that’s improvement.
~ If you read your Bible today, when you didn’t yesterday, that’s improvement.
~ If you beat that temptation that usually beats you, that’s improvement.
~ If you held your tongue where you normally would “erupt”, that’s improvement.
Don’t hold out for perfection… that’s a plan doomed to failure. Instead, hold out for improvement… one day, one act, one victory at a time… that’s a plan for success that we all can attain.
Don’t just be good… be better!