Trusting Not Trying

Trusting Not Trying

05 November 2010

Today’s Reading: Job 28-29; Galatians 1-2


We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good. (Galatians 2:16 MSG)

Paul passionately confronted the Galatian Christ-followers because so many of them had gotten caught up in the trap of religion-based rule-keeping rather than relationship-based God-trusting. He knew the ego and self-improvement appeal of working hard at religion and trying to be good. He knew the “criticize and compare” appeal of using religion to decide who’s acceptable and who’s not acceptable – who’s in and who’s out! He also knew that it is a dead end and leads nowhere.

The Galatian believers weren’t the first and they won’t be the last to get caught up in trying to be good – to impress God by rule-keeping. I struggle with keeping on track with that one myself.

Like Paul, I’m convinced that no human being (at least not me!) can please God by self-improvement. I’m trusting Jesus to set me right with God. I’m trusting Jesus to change me from the inside out as I respond daily to his encouragement, his instruction, and his correction. What pleases God is not my effort to be good or even to be better. What pleases God is that I accept his love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ – that I accept my acceptance!


Father, Please help me to live today on the side of trusting and not trying. As Paul said, “My ego is no longer central. It’s no longer important that I appear righteous to impress others or have their good opinion.” And I know that my pitiful self-efforts at rule-keeping don’t impress you! I will trust in Jesus today. Amen.

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