On “good advice”

When you feel defeated by sin, burnt out by expectations, and discouraged by your inability to get it together, the last thing you need is “good advice.” … Advice meant to “help” will play a switcheroo on you and cause the kind of anxiety that keeps someone up at night watching bad Ab Buster infomercials. … But I’ve got some good news that will help you get a better night’s sleep.

If you are a Christian, God is pleased with you because of what Jesus has already done. To be a Christian is to be united to Jesus in faith, which means God sees Jesus’ moral record, not your checkered one. When we really get that, then our bullet point list becomes a grateful, worshipful response from the heart, rather than a list of Christian duties. You don’t have to have devotional time. You get to. You don’t have to do acts of Christian service. You get to. See the difference? …

For those with tortured consciences, know that, as you come to Jesus, you get welcome, not condemnation. For the overachievers in the crowd, you can forget the extreme spiritual makeover, and know that all the doing meant to gain you acceptance has already been done. …

Your spiritual striving didn’t accomplish your in Christian-ness. And after you came to Christ, and screwed everything up, he didn’t let go. Before you were born, before you thought a thought, and before you felt the gnawing guilt of not living a fully transformed Christian life, you were chosen, loved, adopted, redeemed, and forgiven. Period. 

— excerpt from Matt Johnson, “The Tyranny of Advice Column Christianity


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