God's Goal Isn't to Make Us Good
"We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete [mature] in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."1
We don't have to be good for goodness sake!
In fact, as strange as it may seem, being good may be our worst enemy. It was for the Pharisees. Their external goodness was a cover-up to avoid seeing who and what they were on the inside. Jesus didn't approve of their external religiosity! In fact, he opposed it vehemently because it was an outward act and not an inward response.
It can bring a great sense of freedom to realize that God isn't into rules, but rather relationships. His goal isn't to make us good, but to make us whole and to see us healed from the inside out. The end result will be goodness but goodness that comes from a healed heartónot from adhering to rules dictated by legalism.
This is not an excuse to act out in sinful or destructive behaviors. Not at all. As the Apostle Paul said, "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means."2
What it does mean is that I need to grow towards wholeness and maturity by recognizing my inner brokenness, my weaknesses, and my unresolved character issues and bring them not only to God for healing, but also to a trusted friend and/or counselor. As James said, "Therefore confess your sins [and faults] to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."3
Again, God's goal is not to make us good, but to make us whole. It's the heart that counts with him, not the externals. If all I have is external goodness, I am no better than the Pharisees. Realize too, that only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, our attitudes, our actions, our behaviors, and our relationships be wholesome.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see my broken parts so I can bring them to you for healing. Face me with my reality, make me whole, and lead me to the help that I need to do this. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Colossians 1:28-29 (NASB).
2. Romans 6:1 (NIV).
3. James 5:16 (NIV).