Daily Archive for October 20 2017
DO THE BEST YOU CAN
“All you can do, is do the best you can.” I liked hearing that as a kid. It always made me feel good. As an adult I started asking, ” What if my best is not good enough?” To my surprise I realized I no longer felt good by just doing my best. I though that perhaps there may be another way to approach life than the approach I had maintained. At 19 I found that way.
I would not think much of a person, of course, who was not trying to do their best. Someone who was lazy and passive. Someone who always had a ready excuse for failure.
But as I walk with Christ now, I realize that the Christian life begins each day with a surrender. I start with Romans 12: 1-2. I start by admitting that the day will be largely a loss if I just “do my best.” Instead the day begins with, ” I cannot do this, You must do this through me or nothing good will come from it. I surrender. I yield to your plan for my life today. My best will not be good enough.”
If the day is left to my self-confidence and a “give it your best” attitude then it will end with disappointment. I can always think of more that can be done, and a better quality of doing to boot. I can always see someone doing it better. I am just wise enough to stop feeling any goodness coming from feeling like I did it better than some, or even most others. It is that comparison to others that puts me on the emotion roller-coaster that wears me out each day. Pride or self-condemnation; here we go again!
Christ has given me a new nature. When I live out of that new nature it is now, “His best” that ends the day. The hard part is the surrender, not the doing of the good we are called to do. Once the daily surrender takes place then things “flow” better.
A couple of scripture puts this paradox in perspective. About the time you feel that doing your best is not enough, the Word of God puts the final nail on the coffin of trying to please God out of the failing resources of the old nature. As you begin to feel a kind of death lay over “your best” when you read Matthew 10:38-39 then you feel this incredible relief as you read Matthew 11:28-29. A way to please God with a new heart is described; a less troubled way. Days end in peace instead of frustration and heartache.
So these two scriptures come to mind. They seem contradictory. Did the author did not know they were only several verses apart? He knew. And it is the open secret of the Word.
Matthew 10: 38-39 ” And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Luke 9:23 adds that wonderful line here of, (“he must deny himself.”)
Soon after these impossible- sounding verses in Matthew 10: 38-39 we have the paradox verses coming in Matthew 11: 28-30. A passage to be appropriated after you have exhausted your attempt to do, “Your best” from your old nature, your old self-life. Until your are weary enough you may never understand these next verses.
” Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke ( this word has much in common with the word for “cross,” ) upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-29.
So you have a lot to do today. How do you think you will feel at the end of the day? How do you want to feel at the end of the day? You will be tired for sure, but it could be a good kind of tired; a peaceful, fulfilling kind of tired, or it could be that feeling that has been gnawing on your soul for years which says, ” I feel like I am drowning, and again, as before, my best was not good enough!” You can choose you know. JWP