New post on Isaiah 43:1

Tips for the DIY Christian

by Leah Ness

happy family

It’s been said that the chief end of man is to glorify God. Even if you don’t agree with that completely, you’ll probably still concede that glorifying God is a big part of the Christian walk.

It’s been my own personal aim for years. But how do we go about it? I’m a big DIYer and I love tips and step-by-step instructions, so here are some things I’ve been applying to my life:

  1. Spend time in the Word. Every day, for as long as you can, read the Bible. Don’t miss even one day. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, make yourself read the Bible.
  2. Pray. Pray, pray, pray. Take time, every day, and set it aside as your special prayer time. I like to do mine in the morning to check it off my to-do list early. It’s even better if you can go on a prayer walk so other people can see you spending time with Jesus.
  3. Smile. Even if your life is crumbling around you, make sure you’re presenting a joyful countenance. No one will want to be a Christian if they realize how hard it is so make sure you show them a smile.
  4. Give money to the people with cardboard signs. I know you don’t want to, neither do I, but Jesus said to give to the poor, so if we want to be good Christians, we have to be generous.
  5. Above all, make sure you are producing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. No matter what it takes, make sure there are signs of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control in your life. Some people say if you don’t have signs of this fruit in your life, you might not really be saved, so make sure the fruit is there.

There you go; a nice five step plan. Maybe you’re already doing some of these things, or maybe you have extra items you could add. But this is the list I try to follow. And I can tell you from personal experience, IT DOES NOT WORK.

I try to be a good Christian, I try to follow Jesus in all things, keep the rules, and glorify Him in my life. And I fail, every single day. At the end of the day, I’m left wondering ‘what was that?!’ and promising that I’ll do better tomorrow. That’s my nightly prayer: ‘God, I’m sorry, please help me to do better tomorrow.’

I keep forgetting the simple, beautiful, mysterious truth of Gal.2:20;

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

I’m like that little kid who wants to paint a beautiful picture to show off how great their daddy is. So I grab my paintbrush and I paint on a big smile, I spruce up some of the drab colors, and I draw lots of little pieces of spiritual fruit everywhere. And in the end, I crumple the picture up, toss it over my shoulder in frustration, and tell God I can do better. I even ask Him for pointers on painting. And all the while, He just wants me to give Him the brush.

I’ve been operating under the assumption that whenever I think righteous thoughts, speak words of love, or do good works, I glorify God.

As if anything I can do on my own could be considered good.

As if there were anything good in me other than Jesus.

Every time I love someone who is difficult to love, every time I rejoice through the pain, every time I choose to follow God and please Him, it’s not really me doing it, it’s Christ in me. It’s me dying to the flesh and allowing Him to have His way and bear His fruit. John 15:4 says:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Most of us don’t want to acknowledge that there is nothing good in us and that the results are up to Him. We want to bring something to the table. We want to do something to earn grace. So we make up our to-do list, our 5 Steps to the Perfect Christian, and all the while, we already have everything we need for a godly life. Christ in us, the hope of glory.

All we are supposed to do is abide in Him. We have to stop trying to paint pretty pictures for Him and hand over the brush.

Stepping back and allowing Christ to live in and through me is the only way to turn my life into a masterpiece that glorifies Him


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