Updated: Apr 4, 2021
The famous line in the movie “As Good as Its Gets” when Jack Nicholson says to Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man” speaks to me because I have done a lot of things in my life to try be a better Christian. Most of them simply don't work.
But there is one thing that always works. It is the inspiration I get when I glimpse the depth of His love for me & the revelation of His grace in my heart. It has never really come because of fear tactics, leadership expectations, pulpit harping, the pressure to perform, “fire & brimstone” messages, coercion, legalism, peer pressure, church programs, religious rules, nagging, will power, spiritual steps or trying really, really hard to be a good Christian. I’ve been a part of a number of churches and spiritual movements who were performance driven and purpose driven with an unrelenting “works” emphasis and the undeniable conclusion I have gleaned from many years of experience is that they inevitably become counterproductive and detrimental in the long run.
It is from this wellspring of heartfelt thankfulness that the motivating desire to be a better Christian is born. This is when His grace becomes a living reality and not just an abstract concept we casually toss around. This is when His grace is transformed from an elusive unknown into a personal experience. It is not actualized in our lives through programs, formulas or by merely mouthing meaningless platitudes about grace. The floodgates of His enabling grace open spontaneously and effortlessly when I draw near to Him and truly see what He has done for me. That’s when grace it is no longer a dry, theological concept but a living inspiration. It is the empowering awareness of His loving kindness that sets me on the path to truly becoming a better Christian. It is this that sets in motion a dynamic relationship of “faith working by love.” It’s as simple as that and as good as it gets.