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Doing good, but not great

“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Romans 7:18 A regular conversation I have with my middle aged friends who have done well in business starts out like this: “I’m a success – I’ve provided for my family and lived the life of a good Chris…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

“For I have the desire
to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Romans 7:18

A regular conversation I have with my middle aged friends
who have done well in business starts out like this: “I’m a success – I’ve
provided for my family and lived the life of a good Christian, but I know God
has built me for more, what do I do?”

We carry eternity in our hearts. We know the high standard to which we’ve been
called; we feel the call to a purpose that only God can fulfill. But if you’re like me, you’re all too aware
of the gap between what is possible and the reality of your life that comes up
short. The “weight of glory” I feel
sometimes seems to me like a leg iron – there’s nothing glorious about
opportunities missed; this idea of missing my destiny sometimes haunts my
dreams.

And I wonder if a generation of young people in America isn’t
living its lives in this twilight valley – knowing there’s more, yearning for it,
yet experiencing little of the glorious possibilities available.

I believe this greatness we feel within ourselves is birthed
when we transition to the life of dependence on God that is part of the
Christian’s DNA, a life that finds little room for expression in our risk-averse
society. Jesus understood this disconnect,
he understood that the habit of risk arbitrage is so deeply rooted in most of
us, that we need to recklessly abandon our moorings for a while and experience
true dependence on him.

Jesus understood that most Christians never make it beyond
the safe harbor of their normal life out into the wild, open sea. He knew that unless the rich young ruler
pulled up the anchor of his self-sufficient lifestyle, he had no chance of
learning to depend on God. His
requirement for growth may seem harsh to our 20th century ears, but
we are in need of the same medicine.

We live in a nation of rich young rulers who have
experienced success in attaining personal goals and want to experience success
in God’s kingdom. Yet, they are afraid
to leave the safe harbor of normal life, a life they know to be good, but not
great. They intuitively know that
greatness is only found out beyond the horizon where the waves are high and
life is unpredictable.

Comments (3)

  • Seth, you have made a powerful statement in this blog. “We live in a nation of rich young rulers…” Very well said. I will use that one in a sermon, if you don’t mind.

    God bless you and your family. I read that Wilson and his team have arrived safely in India. Thanks for all you and your staff do for the Kingdom.

  • Today, I read the following and it reminded me of the “rich young rulers.”

    “Granted that the majority are able at last either to own or hire the modern house with all its improvements. While civilisation has been improving our houses, it has not equally improved the men who are to inhabit them. It has created palaces, but it was not so easy to create noblemen and kings.” HD Thoreau

    The context would grant further understanding
    but for some reason it brought my thoughts round to just how tyrannical the world can be by enslaving the minds of so many, believer or not.

  • Hi Seth,

    I’m from India… found your blog via Desiring God outreach on Facebook

    This is interesting… and so true. I read something similar from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. He said that the hard choices for Christians are not between the good and evil sometimes… but between good and best.. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now having to choose between the ‘good’ and the ‘best’… Am praying for discernment to make the right choice.

    Thanks so much for your blog… Praying for your work and ministry..

    God bless you..

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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