Last night at youth group, an interesting discussion broke out about how to know when one is "Christian enough". Many times, we are made to feel...well, just plain not holy enough. This is the wrong line of thinking however. Course, one could spill a lot of theological ink delving into this, but I think a more tidy solution can be deduced.
Often it is said that living the Christian life is doing what God wants you to do; while that is easily remembered it isn't exactly 100% right. Rather, living the Christian life is doing what God wants to do through you.
Is that not a distinction without a difference? No, and here's why:
When you seek to live as (you think) God wants you to, you will find yourself locked into moral conundrums...instances where the right thing to do, may seem to be a sinful thing. Thus, you avoid sinning so as to call yourself righteously aligned with God, whilst what God sought to bring about goes ignored by you. Crazy no?
Consider Mark 14:1-9. In the account, Jesus is being treated to dinner with a group of religious folk. A woman comes in with a pricey bit of perfume and pours it on Jesus' head. On the face of it, this is an extravagance on the lady's part; yet, Jesus winds up commending the woman, but not his dinner hosts. Why? Did they not both go to some expense to do something nice for Jesus? A dinner party certainly costs money, just as perfume does...why was it not positively accounted by Christ?
The heart of the matter is that it is quite literally a heart matter. Both the religious folks and the woman off the street did something good for Jesus, but the woman acted in such a way that she intended it to bring glory to Jesus; she anointed him. The hosts merely met an obligation that fringed Jesus...they acted as good and hospitable Jews such as the law commanded. No more, no less. Yet despite their acting as God ostensibly wanted, they actually were not.
This is really a bit of a paradox, but such is the gospel (don't believe me? have a look at the beatitudes). You don't exactly arrive at the Christian life, you simply do it...yet if you are doing it simply for sake of obedience, you are doing it wrong. In all things, aim to give God glory...but don't do it because the preacher-man told you so. Rather, work for the glory of God because it is for joy...for you, your neighbor, the rule of today, and indeed the promised coming Kingdom of tomorrow.