Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
— Psalm 51:7
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
— Romans 3:21–26
I know when I am starting to feel overwhelmed because the simplest tasks begin to feel impossible. For example, making my bed, going to the grocery store, or ironing my clothes become real challenges. Small insignificant things feel impossible when you are tired and stressed out. My technique is to make mini to-do lists on the fly. I’m going to make my bed, iron my shirt, go to the store, and then I can take a break. Surprisingly it works, because I feel a sense of accomplishment, which builds a little momentum. I then use that momentum to work on my actual to-do list. It breaks the cycle of demotivation.
We all struggle with seemingly impossible tasks at different low times in our lives. It’s OK, though, because those feelings typically don’t last forever.
But there is one task that we need help overcoming: being good enough. It’s impossible. We experience it all the time. You think that you’ve done something incredible and kind and good, and inevitably someone else criticizes you for it. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. But it’s even more impossible to be considered good in the eyes of God. This creates a different kind of destructive cycle in us. We refer to it as the law of sin and death.
God gave us the law to show us what is good and right. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament, and everyone fails to live up to them. The problem is that there are no tips and tricks to get around this one. When we fail to live up to this standard, the penalty is death and separation from God.
But God is merciful. Though he demands justice, he loves us. So he sent his Son, Jesus, not only to pay the penalty for our failure but to make us righteous. And what does he ask of us to receive this? Simply to believe that we truly have forgiveness in Christ. And the cycle is broken.
This changes everything. When you are freed from the law of sin and death through Christ, you can live your life with peace, joy, gratitude, and worship. Not only that, but you’re given the Holy Spirit, who gives you the desire to do what is right.
Today I pray that you rejoice in that truth.