The Good Life vs. The God Life
by Shauna Wallace
I’ve spent much of my lifetime chasing the good life, however my desires defined it.
I’ve sinned to get it.
Even after knowing Jesus.
I was introduced to Jesus at a very young age. My family was falling apart, and in the midst of this crisis, God saved my mom. She put her faith in Jesus as Savior and started taking me and my older sister to church. I was eight or nine years old at the time.
I don’t remember how long we’d been going to church, the exact Sunday or the sermon, but I do remember standing when the preacher invited anyone who wanted to be saved to come down front. I walked the aisle and prayed what is sometimes called the sinner’s prayer.
To whatever degree my child self-knew what she was doing that day, I’m sure I meant my profession of faith with all my heart! But somehow, somewhere early along the way, I shifted my faith from Jesus to performance and perfection.
I would be a good Christian girl!
But I had a big problem…
I wasn’t good at being a good Christian girl. At all!
So I lived a double life. I was one thing in secret and another in public. My insides were a mess, but I learned how to put on good outsides!
Eventually, though, after years of repeatedly failing to get good for God, I gave up. I left home for college and no one cared about my good-Christian-girl act, so I stopped.
I stopped because the disappointment of failure was too much to continue to bear. I was going to find my happiness and satisfaction in the good life, doing whatever I thought would make me happy in the moment.
In my late twenties, in a crisis of my own, I finally turned to Jesus exactly where I was. The Lord opened my eyes and understanding to see that my hopelessness and despair without Jesus was the whole point! He died for who I was at my lowest most desperately sinful state. He died for the Shauna that couldn’t live another moment as she was, not the Shauna I hoped I could become to earn God’s approval and acceptance.
Even then, performance and duty drove me to approach the Lord with a to-do list of good Christianity – quiet time, tithing, church attendance, Bible study, serving, doing the right thing and so on.
As Christians, we can even chase the good Christian life, can’t we? We strive to be the good Christian woman, wife, mom, friend, volunteer, etc.
And all these things are good and worthy and even biblical, but my motive was self-reliant and therefore self-serving and NOT life changing. My empty efforts continually confronted me with my shortcomings.
Thankfully, the Lord continued to open my eyes to Him, His truth and my sin. He taught me about the Holy Spirit and grace and relationship. He showed me that grace is His loving kindness to exert His holy influence on our hearts to turn us to Jesus and then to continue to influence our hearts to walk in His ways. HE continued His work to just that!
Then in 2014, the inconsistencies between the person I longed to be and some ongoing private struggles broke me and the grip the good life had on me (or I had on it!).
God is so good! He doesn’t offer us the good life because He wants us to live a God life: a life in intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in which His grace constantly influences us to do the God thing, not just the good thing.
His grace does it all! His grace saves us, and then by grace He works in us according to His good pleasure as He finishes the work He starts in us. It’s all Him!
Yes, there are specific things God wants us to do and ways He wants us to think and relate to others, but good works and perfection don’t save us or satisfy the soul. Our good intentions and even our good behavior have no eternal value for the kingdom of God UNLESS they are the outworking of God’s work in us. In this way we testify Jesus not just with our words, but with our lives, not to earn a place in His kingdom or in His heart, but because of who we are as His children! The ONLY THING we can do is yield ourselves as willing and available vessels, doing what He tells us to do.
Friend, I have seen the Lord faithfully deliver me from relationships, addictions, bulimia, anger, control, perfectionism and thinking I’m a victim with no choices. He has miraculously saved my marriage, blended our family and transformed my life. Instead of seeking the good life, I’m learning to seek Jesus –pursue Him, know Him, spend time with Him as I read and study the Bible, talk to Him and listen. I am learning to live a God life in intimate relationship with Jesus, and I am seeing His grace constantly at work in me to do the God thing, not just the good thing.
Imagine what would happen if we as God’s people stopped trying to be good and do good, be right and get right and get something good from God and just sought God Himself? What if we yielded ourselves to Him to the point that others could see the outworking of His grace and power in and through us?
This is the God-life, and it IS the good life; it’s the life God gives us when we live our lives entirely for Him.
Shauna Wallace UpdatedAuthor, speaker, and blogger Shauna Wallace openly shares the reality of God and the power of His word through the lens of her life story. Past and present, she tells of God’s faithfulness to deliver her from bulimia, addiction, anger and perfectionism and miraculously save her marriage, blend her family and transform her life. Her driving passion is for herself and others to love Jesus more, draw nearer, go deeper, live freer and believe bigger, learning to exclusively trust Him in the ups, downs, surprises and uncertainties of this thing called everyday life.
Women of all ages and seasons of life find Shauna’s transparent, conversational approach to scripture’s life truths relatable, personally challenging and applicable. Daily seeking Jesus as her anchor and source for significance, strength, and joy, she lives in happy, organized chaos as she juggles a husband, one homeschooled teen, a college kid, three young adult and married children, a family-owned custom home business and her own study and writing. Follow her blog and check out her other books at www.shaunawallace.co .