Often, we present our good behavior when we are being watched. Is it Sunday? Good. We give ourselves mental tally sheets, ticking boxes for what we did not do and what we did do. Stop my mouth from cursing? Check. Greet the usher? Check. Forgive that guy who took my parking space? Check. Not look lustfully at that pretty girl? Check. Close eyes! Close eyes! Close eyes! The list is endless, and we find ourselves stuck in a routine of trying to be good Christians with tremendous do’s and don’ts.
But is that real Christianity? Do’s and Don’ts?
Real Christianity strikes at the identity of a person. A Christian embraces God’s name for him, which is “son” (2 John 1:12), ”beloved” (Col. 3:12), “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17), and “follower of Christ’s footsteps” (1 Pet. 2:21). He follows Christ because he gives himself fully to Him in passionate surrender. He was once a sinner, yes, but he is now clothed with the righteousness that comes only from Jesus.
We must be honest with ourselves when it comes to sin—especially the secret sins. We must be willing to do a 180 degree turn from these things that we know are wrong, especially if God has been nudging us about them. If we have no strength to change, guess what? We can’t change by ourselves! But Jesus can! The Bible says, “If the Son [Jesus] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
You see, Jesus can transform us in such a way that He becomes so alive in us that sin is overcome, and we are transformed into being like Him. The Bible says in 2 Cor. 3:18: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Imagine being transformed into Jesus’ image. Being like Him. Being righteous like Him. Being holy like Him. It is possible to be free from the deepest sins. How then do we contemplate on the Lord’s glory so that we are transformed into His image? One way to do this is by meditating on His Word. Meditate on the Lord’s goodness. Meditate on the Lord’s character. Let the truth of Christ grow large in your heart. Read the Bible intentionally. Speak to Jesus. Listen to Him. Gaze at His face. Let His love for you consume you.
When Christ becomes our all in all, the inevitable happens: pleasing Him and loving Him become the preoccupation of our lives. Doing good, therefore, will come naturally as Jesus’ glory sweeps our minds and hearts like a cleansing fire. He starts to burn in us, and we start to burn for Him– shining the light of His glory. Doing good will not become a burden to us when Christ is all we see and want. In fact, “doing good” becomes “being good” because in Christ, we become righteous (2 Cor.5:21). Following Jesus becomes the only lifestyle we will desire to have. It is the lifestyle of Heaven on earth.
We should live in this kind of freedom from sin. We should live embracing Christ’s righteousness.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.