One of the things I love about the relaxed pace of summer time is the opportunity to catch up on reading. There is nothing like a good book enjoyed by the pool, or better yet, at the beach.
There was a period of time many years ago when I pretty much stopped reading altogether. It happened when I was in college, when I should have been doing more reading than ever before. My logic was totally flawed, but, because I had so much required reading for my classes, I felt guilty about reading for pleasure. So, I wouldn’t pick up a book just for fun. But, I also wasn’t really doing the reading I was supposed to be doing for my classes, either. So essentially, I just stopped reading. Laziness and a lack of motivation stopped me from reading what I was required to read, and guilt stopped me from reading what I wanted to read.
Guilt is powerful. If we allow it, it can get in the way of a lot of things, including our relationship with Jesus. Sometimes, we can become overwhelmed by all of the “requirements” we believe Christians are supposed to fulfill, and then feel guilty for not measuring up. At those times, it can be tempting to just stop trying altogether.
And, I think you should. Stop trying. Altogether.
You see, unlike the work in my college classes, the work of the Cross has already been done. If you are trying to measure up, to meet some Christian “gold standard,” I’m afraid you are missing out on the beauty and freedom that comes from living in God’s grace.
When we live in grace, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and actions, following Jesus doesn’t feel like a burden. We can rest, knowing that the requirement for eternal salvation has already been met. We can actually enjoy ourselves and our relationship with Jesus, casting off the chains of guilt and regret once and for all.