Trying To Be Good

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? The one whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous … Psalm 15:1-2

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22

It is easy to begin trying hard to be good. The very act of trying makes us feel better about ourselves. When we try hard to be good, sometimes even other people feel better about us. And we imagine that God is pleased as we trudge up “His Holy Hill,” foot by excruciating foot. We usually don’t get far, however.

It is more difficult to acknowledge our depravity and our inability to want to be good. When we get honest, we realize that what we really want oftentimes is to be bad. It is then we call out to God, “I can’t live on your holy hill! I’m not righteous at all!”  Then, upside-down reality breaks in—because of our faith in what Jesus did on the cross, God brings us up to the top of that hill to live with Him, day by day. It is there that He gives us strength to live the life we read of in Psalm 15.  (And strength is required!)

To put it succinctly: Living the righteous life through faith in Christ is easier than living righteously on your own. Try hard to be good and you will succeed for a while. If you can keep it up, you’ll become proud about your ability to be good—which makes you bad (remember Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in the Gospels). The truth is that it is impossible to be good for a lifetime without Jesus making it happen in you, as we read in Romans 3.

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