Many Christian homeschoolers have lived with the expectation that they must be good. Dress good. Talk good. Live good. Just be good.
Sometimes this expectation was implanted by themselves. Sometimes by family, a church or community leader. Regardless, can we all just admit that this expectation is never fully met? You try and try and try to be good and then discover the bar was set much higher than you at first expected or were taught. No matter how good you are, someone will have a verse to throw at you, a standard to compare you to or a coffin to nail you in.
As they grow older, many homeschoolers respond by either adopting stricter regulations or going bezerk and throwing all standards to the air. Both are sad conclusions.
So here’s the deal, guys: stop being good. Let that load drop from your back. Stop carrying it. Leave it alone and step away.
The Bible describes that moment when Jesus said “No one is good, save God” and the rich, young ruler piped up: “Well, I’ve kept all the commandments from my youth up.” Perhaps he was a homeschooler. But he certainly was convinced of his own goodness. Therefore he didn’t have much need for Christ.
Because doing good things — helping the elderly cross the street, giving cookies to your neighbor, wearing dress pants and a tie as pijamas — doesn’t require anything special. Anyone can do that. God didn’t send His only begotten Son to die on the cross in order to allow us to help the elderly & bake cookies.
Instead, through Christ’s perfect goodness and sacrificial death, we are enabled — let this soak in — to be righteous. This is key. Righteous is a whole different standard. Nobody can be righteous on their own; we need God’s grace for this. So Christ’s righteousness is transferred to our account so that “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). This is wonderful! We can stop trying to be pretty mediocre humans because the perfect Son of God gave Himself for us so that He could rectify us from the inside out. And this means:
- God loves you because of Christ and not because of any single one of your good deeds.
- God accepts you because of Christ and not because you keep trying so hard.
- God is changing you to be more like Christ because He is faithful, and not because you are focused on being a role-model for homeschoolers everywhere.
- God still loves you because of Christ even when you really mess up.
Here’s the point: go ahead and keep doing good things. Please bake those cookies. But PLEASE, stop finding your identity in that. “I talk a certain way / dress a certain way / sing a certain way — certainly I am a good person.” Stop thinking that you are defined by what you DO. The Good News of the Gospel is that we are defined by Him, not us. God calls us to chase after Him and seek His holiness out of loving obedience and in joyful response to the Cross of Christ. Which means that as we help that elderly lady cross the street, we do so joyfully because God has been good to us — not in order to validate our own goodness.
Listen: stop being good. That’s never enough. It never was. I’m sorry you wasted so much time being so focused on that. Repent of being satisfied in that. Get to know Christ. Be righteous before Him. Find satisfaction in Him. Be complete in Him. Be swallowed up in His righteousness. And let that holy transformation be the motivation of your Christian walk and never again the goal of your good deeds.
[Inspired by Bryan Chapell's timely talk: https://vimeo.com/5173082]