Why you can stop “trying” to live the Christian life

We attend church on the weekends, dressed in our Sunday best, marveling at how everyone else seems to be holding their life together perfectly while we scramble to duct tape the cracks in our own. We think we know the dos and don’ts of what is expected of us. And we can’t bear the tut-tutting of our co-workers or family when we do something we know we shouldn’t have and hear them whisper behind our backs: “…but she’s a Christian…”

It. Is. Exhausting.

Exhausting to live up to the invisible goals of perfection. The written and unwritten rules of Christianity. A Christian should be this. A Christian shouldn’t do that.

The worst part? Ending up feeling guilty and kicking ourselves, all the while striving by our efforts to be what we think Jesus would’ve wanted us to be. All we want to do is please God, why does it have to be so hard?

Someone once said, “The Christian life isn’t difficult, it’s impossible.”

Don’t take it from me—take it from the Apostle Paul who says in Romans 7 (MSG), “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.”

He adds: “I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway…It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.”

He concludes, “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope.

It’s comforting to know that we’re in good company.

“I can will it, but I can’t do it,” Paul confesses.

And herein lies the reason we can stop trying: Because no matter how hard we try, we’re never going to be a good-enough Christian (because seriously, who’s deciding the benchmark for what “good-enough” is anyway?).

Here’s where many believers, upon realizing that they can’t, end up disappointed and decide that since they’ve tried and failed, why bother trying anymore? Then they dust off their shoes and walk away from Christianity. After all, no one wants to reminded at every turn that they aren’t good enough.

But what if—let’s consider this for a moment—our personal failure was actually God’s opportunity to be for us, what we obviously couldn’t be for ourselves?

Hebrews 10:14 (MSG) tells us: “It was a perfect sacrifice [Jesus’ death on the cross] by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.”

So let’s wrap our minds around this. The only perfect person ever (Jesus) sacrificed Himself for us by dying on the cross in our place, bearing the punishment for every one of our sins. That was the perfect work Jesus did, through which He basically did everything that needed to be done for everyone. So who are we to presume that somehow, by our own efforts, we could improve upon His perfection?

Excuse the poor comparison, but Jesus has done for your life the equivalent of someone logging into your Candy Crush account and gifting you unlimited hearts. No more waiting fifteen minutes, no more purchasing credits, just bam. Unlimited hearts forever.

Many of us have tried our best to live lives worthy of what Jesus did for us at the cross. We think, “The Lord Himself died for me, I can’t afford to disappoint Him.” But what if the cross was not the finishing post, but our starting line? That life was not about walking out our own salvation, but living out the salvation that was already perfected and completed on our behalf 2,000 years ago, before we even had a chance to repent?

How differently we would live our lives then!

Being on the Joseph Prince Ministries team, we get dozens of praise reports every day from people whose lives have been turned right-side up when they encountered the grace of God found in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Grace is seen in the lives of people like Nikki, a worship leader from Oklahoma who was living in bondage to masturbation and left church because of the shame and condemnation. She encountered the perfect work of Jesus and realized that it wasn’t about her trying to overcome her addiction on her own but resting in His grace. Today she’s free of her addiction, back in church, and serving once more.

Or Robin, who went through severe mental oppression in Bible school when he believed that he had committed the unpardonable sin and was going to hell. Today, he writes to us saying that “When I was trying to be a good Christian, I was only crawling along inch by inch, but now that I’ve got hold of grace, I am running in my relationship with God!”

Don’t live life as though Jesus didn’t do a perfect job when He died for you on that cross. If you’re struggling with something in your life today, know that you don’t have to do anything to be pleasing to God, except believe that He is already as close to you as you could ever want Him to be.

This relationship between you and God? It’s anchored on what Christ has done for you and not what you can do to maintain it. Rest in His finished work and let His grace do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Got a thought or a story to share? Leave a comment below!

Editor and creative director. Lizzy’s background is in filmmaking and design. She is obsessed with good typography and visual balance. Her favourite hobby is hoarding blank page notebooks and calligraphy tools.

20 Comments

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  1. Hardest thing i do! Living in the knowledge that Christ has already done it all. sometimes it’s short lived but, When i get it right? Living by Grace is an amazing lifestyle!

  2. Yes! The knowledge of Christ’s finished work is indeed the key to effortlessly transformation and lasting victory!

  3. Thank you for this word God bless you. A few days ive had been trying to be a good christian but only ending up to be rude to others, even when they want to get close to me ill just push them away by my actions and at the end of the day i end up hurting the people who are close to me and that breaks my heart more than it does that am failing to live a good christian life.
    Now that i have discovered this wonderful truth am going to let go and stop trying to do my best and rest that i cannot add to the perfect work he already did to save me. THANK YOU

  4. THANK YOU JESUS. EVER SINCE I BECAME AN ARDENT LOVER OF THE FINISHED WORK, MY LIFE. MY THOUGHT, MY MINISTRATIONS HAVE CHANGED. I NO LONGER SEE MYSELF STRUGGLING OR WORRY ABOUT THINGS AROUND ME. I KNOW JESUS HAS TAKEN OVER

  5. I don’t think it was rest that attracted me to Pastor Prince’s ministry as much as it was the excitement of being able to support this swashbuckling samurai preacher that I saw spewing forth amazing things from the pulpit such as ‘I’m going to show you how you can see miracles, which is God’s plan for you’, ‘I’m not afraid to go to Israel, because God is with me’, and ‘prove that you’re a man of God by speaking forth things before they happen before thousands like I did’. But this article does contain the beautiful truth that Jesus by His finished work has provided for us everything that we will ever need in life. Because we know that the cross provided our healing. And then you’re like ‘but what about my prosperity?’ And then we’re like ‘are you healed?’ And then you’re like ‘yeah’. And then we’re like ‘well then you’re already rich’. And then you’re like ‘ohhhhh I get it’. I have been free from my addiction to masturbation for about 3 or 4 weeks now though, so I guess that is why I am not exactly an expert on the rest of God just yet. Nevertheless this was a beautiful and refreshing article full of grace and truth! Thank you Decibel! ^_^

  6. What a blessed truth it is that Jesus has finished the work to supply everything we will ever need in life! This really is the too good to be true news! Hearing the stories of the deliverance others have received gives me great hope! Beautiful and refreshing article, Decibel! Thank you Jesus!

  7. wow…..WOOOOOOOOW!that is so amazing so sweet his love rises within my heart because of such good enlightment of his grace.i am blessed thank you for such uplifting massages oohhh….JESUS!!!stay blessed all.

  8. i cannot believe what i just read!!! five minutes….5 MINUTES!!!…is all it took to help me see something that i thought i really understood just ten minutes ago!! this is truly an anointed, Jesus focused, Holy Spirit inspired site…thank you SO MUCH to everyone at JP ministries!!! this site = spiritual food = freedom …. which is EXACTLY what we’re gonna need in these last days.

  9. I absolutely agree with this. We need to be reminded of God’s salvation and deliverance. I am in need of deliverance myself. I have been struggling for years. Condemnation becomes a stumbling block from achieving my victory. I want to give in to Jesus’ righteousness as a gift and see for myself that Jesus is my deliverer.

  10. I just read about a guy named Robin whom went thru mental oppression during bible school and I feel as if I’m in mental oppression, can someone help me overcome this by the Word of God? Thank you for this website, yall don’t know how important it is to continue to publish. God bless.

  11. Love love love I needed this man I’m always trying to be perfect i feel awful I need Him to help me let go of my striving I can’t be perfect He’s already done it for me God let me see it it’s a beautiful thing and I want to understand what it means to be dead to sin and alive to Christ and what it means to walk with you without feeling like at every small mistakes you hate me and my life is a wreck and I’m never going to prosper in anything because I’m not good enough God please close the mouth of the devil help me to hear your voice and listen to yours not his!

  12. Thank you this article is soo encouraging…it helps me rely on Jesus’ Righteousness and not on my own Righteousness…keep up writing such good articles

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