"I don't cuss. I don't drink alcohol or use drugs. I tend to avoid the sin people consider the "worst.". Plus, In addition to all of the things I don't do, I am a nice person. I feel bad for the poor and even try to help them out when convenient. I go to church on most Sundays, I play guitar in the praise band. And my wife and I even lead a weekly small group. I am doing everything that's required of me to stay "right" with God.
For years, this is how I lived out my faith and these were the standards I used to justify my standing as a "good Christian." But when God started changing my heart, I began to realize that followers of Jesus are called to a life of so much more than this "checkbox" style of Christianity.
He doesn't want us to cautiously avoid sin or to merely play the game of religion. He doesn't want us "working" to earn His favor. Rather, we are called to rest and trust in what Jesus has already done for our salvation. And to let the same power that saves us, empower us to live for Him while we are here on Earth.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm still human which means I will always struggle with sin. But the sin that I had been working so hard to avoid no longer has the same attraction. And the "duties" that I had fulfilled in the past because "I had to" or because "that's what Christians were supposed to do" are no longer a joyless task or a way to earn God's approval. Instead, I eagerly look forward and feel privileged to do whatever I can for Him. It brings me joy.
I am extremely grateful to have learned the truth of what being a Christian truly means. It is more than following a bunch of rules. It is more than using my faith to make myself look and feel better.
Being a Christian is about having a relationship with Jesus and letting Him change me. It is loving Jesus and loving others. It is about serving Him and following Him no matter where He leads, all in response to what He has done for me!