Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why I Need Jesus

As I think about my life, and the things I have do and have done, I am left with one conclusion. I know I NEED JESUS! Left to my own, I know what kind of person I am. I wish I could say I am a good person, after all, I try to do good things. In a conversation recently, I realized how many good things I do for wrong reasons. Let me make some examples before I share about me.

If a man knows his neighbor has gone oversees with the military, if he goes out of his way to be nice to the wife left at home, we would say that's a good thing. If he helped her with repairs around the house, carried her groceries for her, and was there to listen when she was sad, we would say "what a good guy". How would it change if we knew his motivation was to have an affair with this woman, and he was trying to manipulate her for sex. Is he still a good guy?

A young girl goes over every day to spend time with an elderly lady who is a shut in. They talk and visit, they look at pictures and enjoy tea together. The young girl asks for advice and listens to the wisdom of the older lady. Sounds like a good thing, doesn't it. What if you found out that every time the girl comes over, she is stealing the jewelry from this old woman. Is she still a good person?

I am more subtle than that. I haven't tried to take a man's wife or a woman's belongings, but I have my own selfish reasons. Things like approval, recognition, my own pride and the desire to be better than you. The deeper you go, the more selfish the reasons. I end up being a Pharisee.

The Pharisees were the religious leaders and teachers of the law in Jesus' day. They thought they were good people. They thought they were the best. They didn't think they needed to be forgiven, because they did everything right. The problem was their motivation. They didn't do it because they loved God, they did it to make themselves happy. In the end, they took advantage of people, they hurt people and they killed Jesus.

In Luke 18, Jesus tells the example of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee looks toward Heaven and said "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get". The tax collector simply prays for mercy because he is a sinner.

I need Jesus because I'm a sinner. I have moments where I feel like I should be able to stand proud and say "I am not like all the common sinners to drink, smoke, chew and go with those who do." Then I remember what the book of James says. "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." James 2:10

Why? Simple, God's standard is to be perfect, and I'm not. I am so far from perfect that I can't even imagine what perfection would be like, expect for one thing. I know that Jesus was perfect. I know that He lived a perfect live, he took the test and passed with the perfect score. I get to claim his test result, I get to live by His score. That is why I need Jesus.

I need Jesus because on my own, I am selfish, cruel, self-seeking and have little to no compassion for anyone unless that compassion would directly benefit me. I would take advantage of people, manipulate people and seek my own agenda, all the while claiming to be a good person.

Here is my admission. I am not a good person, but I trust in Jesus. I trust in Jesus to do in me what I can't do in myself. I trust Jesus to bring life to my dead spirit, to grant me forgiveness of my sins, to restore my relationship to a Holy God. I trust Jesus to do in me what I have failed to do on my own. I trust Jesus to make me into the person He wants me to be. I know that it will only be complete after I leave this life and begin my life in Heaven. I know I fail and I know I am lacking, but I trust Jesus.

I wish I could just end there, but even in trust I struggle. I so bad what to take it back, do it myself, fix it on my own. I can be a better person, a better man, a better husband and father. I can study more, believe and teach the right things, have all the answers and be a better person. If I can just get my sin problem under control, if I can stop being selfish, stop being greedy, some being envious and prideful. The problem is, the more I do, the harder I work, the more pride I take and the farther behind I get. The more I work, the less I trust and the more like the Pharisee I become. I need Jesus, he is the only answer for this cycle of self-destruction I find myself in. So I am learning to trust, and together, He can make me the man I want to be.