Even though Mary will never be a world-class high jumper, she knows what it’s like to have the bar raised higher and higher. All her life she has been pushed to excel in whatever she did, prodded to be successful in every area of life. That is certainly not a problem, in and of itself. But her pain is from a father who has never been satisfied with anything she has done. She once remarked to a friend, “Every time I achieve what he’s challenged me to do, the only comment I get is that I’d better start working on the next level. When will he be satisfied with something I do?”
Paul talks about “the written code, with its regulations” as being opposed to us. Trying to get right with God by perfectly living out every part of the law is impossible. The bar is perfection and is always out of our reach. But Jesus cleared the bar for us when he nailed our sins to the cross.
All too often the primary motivation for trying to live like a Christian is guilt. “If I don’t excel, God will reject me.” “I’ll never be good enough.” Stop trying to be Christ-like out of exhausting self- effort. Jesus cleared the bar for you. The Holy Spirit will help you succeed from the inside out.
Father, thank you that because of Jesus’ perfection I can live in the way your Spirit leads me. Amen.