Most of you are familiar with the “Yo-Yo Diet”. It is basically when you diet really hard and lose a lot of weight (fat and muscle). However, it is unsustainable. So, when it is broken (and partly due to reduced muscle mass) a person gains the weight right back. Repeat cycle.
Diet companies make billions. But our health suffers.
I think a similar thing can happen with religion. I think people try really hard to “be a good Christian” (typically go to church, read their bible, pray, be nice, etc.). Somewhere in the mix we fall off the plan. This causes us to feel guilty, so we pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and commit ourselves to trying harder. Try harder, frustration, guilt. Repeat cycle.
Health experts will tell you it is not about “diets”, it is about lifestyle.
Pastors should tell you it’s not about “trying harder”, it is about Jesus.
If your faith is a cycle of trying harder and guilt, get off Yo-Yo Religion. It has nothing to do with Jesus!!! Let me be clear: The Yo-Yo faith does not worship Jesus, it worships the human will. That is right… you are really just worshiping yourself.
If you do good: Pride (in yourself).
If you do bad: Guilt (in yourself).
This is exactly the cycle that Jesus came to set us free from!!! It is not about trying harder, pride, or guilt. It is about receiving the radical love and grace of God. And that is the sort of faith that can captivate the human heart and move mountains.
The ordinary men and women God has used to change the world are not people who have “tried harder”. They are men and women who fell deeply in love with God and His vision to heal this world. It is a love that changes everything!