A “Good Girl” Wrestles with the Gospel

I’ve always been a “good girl.”

Straight A student. Rarely in trouble. Picked the right college, the right fella, the right outfit. You get the idea.

Turning my life over to Jesus ripped my story into two halves: life before Him and life after Him. Still, there isn’t a lot of drama in the “before” part. No skeletons in the closet. No criminal record. No massive public failures.

The achievements, accomplishments, and attitudes we polish up squeaky clean are destined to end up looking like filthy rags next to God’s holiness.

I know this is why the gospel has always gone down smooth for me. Yes, God forgave me of my sins. Yes, that is good news. But honestly, there wasn’t that much to forgive. I’m a good girl, remember?

But I’ve been walking with the Lord for almost two decades now. And the strangest thing has happened. The longer I know Him, the more familiar I become with His Word, the uglier my heart looks. It’s like one of those optical illusion pictures that just looks like a bunch of squiggles at first. But the longer you stare, the more the edges of a hidden image start to emerge.

Unfortunately, the image of my heart is not a pretty picture.

Sure, my behavior screams “good girl.”

But my deceitful heart whispers . . .

  • Jealousy
  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Hate
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Greed

So a wrestling match has begun in me. Suddenly, I am painfully aware of my desperate need for grace.

Here’s the truth: there are no good girls.

The Bible tells us no one is good except God (Rom. 3:10). The achievements, accomplishments, and attitudes we polish up squeaky clean are destined to end up looking like filthy rags next to God’s holiness (Isa. 64:6).

I keep on sinning. My sin nature seems to be super glued to me. Being a good girl doesn’t dissolve its adhesive effect. Following the rules doesn’t make me righteous. Acting like Pollyanna isn’t the same as having a pure heart.

I am thankful the dam of my goodness has broken, because God’s huge grace is what has come pouring through.

So week after week, as the communion cup is passed, I wrestle and I weep. It has taken my entire life, but my good girl façade has cracked.

On my very best days I am still a sinner. But while the bad news has been pinning me to the mat lately, the good news keeps picking me up and dusting me off:

 

“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1)

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

I am thankful the dam of my goodness has broken, because God’s huge grace is what has come pouring through. The gospel doesn’t always feel good. Facing up to the reality of our sin hurts. But when I wrestle with the gospel, the gospel always wins.

No, being a good girl is not enough. But the grace of a good God is.

Not-so-good girls like me find that to be very Good News.

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