I think I have been looking at the Christian life wrong for decades.
This spring I have been participating in a women's bible study on the names of God. One of the biggest lessons I got from it was that I need Christ's righteousness DAILY. Even when things are going well and I'm doing well, that's a sign of being close to Christ; not a sign that I've worked my way up to an achievement level where I won't need Him as much...
I was thinking about all of that this morning and I started asking God 'why' we humans are so feckless. I'm reading about the Israelites in Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea. In verse 14:31 it states clearly that the Israelites believe and fear God and trust Moses. I can understand how watching the Red Sea part for 2 million people to march through only to have it collapse and kill the enemy would lead to a strong faith, but it doesn't last. It doesn't last very long AT ALL. And it's not just the Israelites. It's all of us. No matter how big the miracle, how well timed the "coincidence", how complete the salvation...it fades and fades fast.
I asked God why. I asked if it was a fatal flaw built into us and if so, why? I think the answer lies in the fact that were are spirits trapped in these decaying bodies while tethered to a one directional timeline. Our daily needs, feelings, wants, and longings (especially considering the demands and reality of scarcity) leave us in a single moment, then the Rea Sea quickly fades into the rear mirror.
The fact that the sun rises new every morning is often our saving grace in leaving crappy situations behind us; but we also end up leaving glorious, miraculous, sacred moments behind.
It's a feature, not a glitch.
I came to this conclusion because I was apologizing to God for all of the Red Seas I had let fade away and was trying to figure out a way to remember the Red Sea (like we're told to) and it hit me that I was trying to do better so I didn't need God's grace daily. I wanted to keep my portion of the Christian welfare down so I didn't cost so much to Him. Maybe that would make me more lovely in His eyes. That's when He told me I was doing this wrong.
Needing Christ's grace and guidance daily isn't welfare. It isn't drawing resources from a zero-sum pool, in which keeping my portion smaller is a benefit to God...the opposite is true. Christ is fuel and the system was designed to run on fuel. Everything needs fuel to work properly. People and animals need food, plants need the sun, electronics need batteries, cars need gas...everything runs on something. The fact that that reality is so common to the point of ubiquitous, makes me believe that our faith, our energy, our lifeforce works the same way. We need fuel to run. We can store small amounts for convenience and survival, but it's never going to be long before it's time to fuel back up. And we have to run to God, to Christ, to the Spirit He left behind for us, to get that fuel.
I don't criticize my car for needing fuel. And it is not an indictment that I need fuel more often that someone else, considering my ridiculous commute. It's the same with daily righteousness. We all fill up differently because we are different.
As the sun sets and rises again tomorrow and the next day, I need to remember that. I need Christ by design. I need to seek God daily and hand over a bushel of sin for His grace each and every day. When it's going well- be as diligent as when it's not- there is no good in me apart from Christ. If I'm on a roll, it's to His glory, not a glowing report card for me.
And the next time the Red Sea parts for me, capture it with a song, a cairn, a scrapbook, an annual Seder meal...whatever it takes to remember. It's a feature, not a glitch.