After almost twenty years of calling myself a Christian, I expect near-professional status by now. I should be praying for the entire world, giving lots of money to worthy causes, frequenting overseas missions fields, sharing the gospel with my neighbors, confessing my sins daily, reading the Bible regularly, showing up at church every Sunday.
I forget to pray before I eat.
I give too much money to Target. And Starbucks.
I’ve been on only one mission trip (five weeks in China).
I’ve never shared my faith with any of my neighbors (though I have baked Christmas cookies for them).
I am slow to admit my sins (ask the husband), and even slower at confessing them.
I can’t remember the last time I had a real, solid Quiet Time.
I listen to lots of hip hop. (This was not always the case.)
Forget “radical” discipleship and “crazy love”; I can barely manage a nominal Christian life (i.e., repent-believe-repeat).
My sins are ever before me. They seem to compound year after year, like credit card interest. I do not get better as I grow older; I get worse. I can’t adequately express how shocked I am by this. Who knew that marriage, motherhood, mortgage payments, aging parents, and all of life’s demands would bring out not the best in me but the worst?
The bad news: I am not legacy material. Nothing will be named in my memory.
The good news: My progressively dire circumstances are perfect for the Gospel to thrive. The need for a righteousness outside of myself—in Christ—is obvious when I am increasingly ashamed of what I am within.
After twenty years of negative progress, there is no reason for me to think that the next twenty (or sixty) years will be any different. I have every reason to believe that God will only continue to prune everything “good” in me, in order that on the day I die, I might actually and finally believe: I am a sinner.