Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our Best Effort

Lent 2012 A Clean Heart, Create in Me  C.S.Lewis
Friday, March 2                                                            Matthew 5:20

Mom always said,"Honey, all your father and I want is for you to try your best and we will be proud of you."  But if you keep improving and growing how can you ever know when you've done your best?  In my youth I felt I could never do enough to earn their pride because I couldn't understand the difference between my best and the best.  I was on a sliding scale where noone would or could share the scale with me.  Now C.S. Lewis sets up the same no-win situation in being good.  Ewww.  He suggests that we keep on trying so we can know more and more how much we need God. 
Because of this, I choose to respond to this scale in a similar way to Jesus.  When someone said, that Jesus was good, he responded, "Why do you say that I am good?  No one is good except my Father in heaven."  (Mark 10:18, Lke 18:19) That doesn't let me off the hook for my behavior, but it does give me the freedom to understand and rely on God's grace.  I know that I will fall short of all that I can be if I only rely on myself.  However,  by relying on Jesus I can get off of the hamster wheel of trying to earn grace, and be free of the stranglehold of legalism.  I don't have to worry about trying to exceed the scribes and Pharisees (teachers and judges of the law) to enter the kingdom, I will throw myself on the mercy of Christ. 
By the way, now that I am a mom myself, I understand better what she meant when she told me to do my best.  She was asking for effort that was commiserate with the situation and the leading of God, the model of Christ and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Still it's a lot to ask, but at least with God, I know that anything is possible. 

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