God's Goal Is Not to Make us Good
"We proclaim Him [Christ], admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete [mature] in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."1
We don't have to be good for goodness sake!
In fact, being good may be our worst enemy. It was for the Pharisees! Their external goodness was a cover-up used to avoid facing what they were on the inside. Jesus did not approve of their external religiosity! In fact, He opposed it vehemently.
It can bring a great sense of freedom to realize that God isn't into rules, but rather relationships. And His goal isn't to make us good, but to make us whole; that is, to heal us from the inside out. The end result will be goodness but goodness that comes from a healed heart, and not from adhering to external rules and regulations dictated by legalism.
This is not an excuse to act out in sinful or destructive behaviors or to ignore God's laws which are for our protection. Never! As the Apostle Paul said, "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means...."2
What it does mean is that I need to grow towards wholeness and maturity by recognizing my inner brokenness, my weaknesses, and my unresolved character issues and bring them not only to God, but also to a trusted friend and/or counselor for healing and recovery. As a general rule, we got damaged (emotionally) in damaging relationships—especially when were were growing up—and we get healed (emotionally) in healing relationships. As James said, "Therefore confess your sins [and faults] to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."3
Again, God's goal is not to make us good, but to make us whole. It's the heart that counts with Him, not the externals. If all I have is external goodness, I am no better than the Pharisees. Realize too, that only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, our attitude, our actions, our behavior, and our relationships be "whole-some."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to see my broken parts so I can bring them to You for healing. Confront me with my reality, make me whole, and lead me to the help that I need to do this. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Colossians 1:28–29 (NASB).
2. Romans 6:1 (NIV).
3. James 5:16 (NIV).