My life consist of epiphanies and the space between them.
What does a Christian do differently than an unbeliever? You wouldn't have been able to tell by looking at me recently. The life I've been leading has slid back into a mode of self-punishment. What being a Christian means is that we're no longer blind to what sin is, no longer subject to the pervading guilt of it and free to live life to the fullest. The mindset of needing to pay a debt or earn my way to a closer walk with God had crept back into my frame.
I've lived like a prisoner the last few months, subconsciously taking salvation into my own hands. The foolishness of this can best be understood by thinking of me like a prisoner who has been pardoned and continues to live in his cell even though the door has been opened. The jailer is me, now.
I haven't been taking care of myself. I've stopped working out, I've stopped pursuing my passions, I've stopped eating healthy. The list goes on. Grace has eluded me. I thought I should stop doing everything that isn't perfect and "wait for righteousness". Not to say this isn't the case in some areas of my life, but I mistook this verse to mean "sit on your hands and wait for God to move you." Taken to the absolute meaning, I could start saying that I should stop brushing my teeth because I'm doing it for selfish, vain reasons. Oh I've been a fool, yet again.
The verse says "Let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind" I may not completely quit trying to perform my own surgery forever, but I will quit today. I'll let the Surgeon handle it today, and I'll just love Him for it.
I went to a parenting conference a couple weeks ago and the speaker told an amazing analogy about righteousness. The speaker, Ted Tripp, took it from somebody else and I took it from him, so if you're really concerned giving credit to the right person, good luck. Anyway, the story is of an apple tree that consistently grows bad apples. The man who owns the tree tries everything to help the tree grow good apples. Fertilizer, more water, aeration, everything you could think of. Finally in a desperate attempt to have a tree that had good fruit on it, he picked all the rotten apples off the tree and tied fresh, good apples to the tree. His wife comes to see the tree and is floored by the ridiculous superficiality of the work her husband has done.
The point of the story is that the heart is the tree the and what comes from the tree is determined by the quality of the heart. By forcing myself to do "good" is like tying fruit onto my tree. I've been doing so for a while now. The righteousness must come from with in. Yes, I could go out and do good, but it is superficial and ultimately more work than it is worth. All recipients of such "good" will be painfully aware of the phoniness. I will wait for Jesus to change my heart. In the meantime I'll stop wasting my time tying phony fruit to my branches and just live the life Christ has given me.