Self Improvement Without a Savior

Onward & Upward

They say, “live your truth,” but what if your truth is not based on the Truth, is as fickle as your feelings, and at the mercy of your perception at any given moment? Our perceptions are not always right, our feelings can lie, and any truth that is not rooted in the Truth is not truth at all and will not set you free to be who you were created to be. When you fight for what you want to be true at the cost of what is true, what looked like freedom turns out to be the complete opposite.

They say, “do what makes you happy!” but what if what makes you happy is not what will set you free? What if what makes you happy steals from someone else? What if what makes you happy now for a moment will lead to heartache for you and those you love later? What if what God has wanted for you all along is not just a temporary feeling of happiness but freedom from oppression and darkness and a joy that is not dependent on circumstances? We settle for a feeling and make the goal a feeling when we could have so much more.


They say, “be unapologetically you,” and I get that in the sense that we cannot live life afraid of what others will think. But what if what you think is “you” is a distortion of who God made you to be? What if you carry around and identify with something that is based on a lie and is stealing from you? What if the you you are fighting for is not the you you were created to be and will lead you down a path of devastation and destruction? And yet we are led to believe that it is better to be approved of than to be free – so we campaign for our labels and limitations, desperately trying to gain acceptance and approval, not realizing that God has wanted us all along, and there is no higher form of acceptance.


They say, “create the life you want!” I am seeing more and more how the choices we make today are the life we will experience tomorrow and in that sense, it is very important to take responsibility for the seeds we plant. But the saying of, “create what you want,” still begs the question: What if the life you want is nowhere near as good as the life God wants for you? What might I miss out on, chasing my own ideal when I have a good God with Whom NOTHING is impossible who wants more for me than I could ever dream? Creating the life you want – it is a nice thought, offered in an attractive package, but it is cheap compared to what God could and wants to do if only a life were offered to Him. If my life is all about me – my accomplishments, my happiness, my success, my ability – it is a small life indeed.


There are so many sayings floating around that sound good and may have some truth in them, but it is so important to take them back to the Word of God, back to the life of Christ and what He died for, and ask, “how does this line up?” Because truly, some of the things that sound so amazing and resonate so deeply with so many of us are partially true, but woefully incomplete.


The Truth will make us free – but it is God’s Truth, not ours.


We do have a good God and doing life with Him is not just “happiness,” it is AMAZING!


We cannot live and die by the approval of others and we do have a light to shine while we are on this earth and should shine it. But it is not a light to shine on ourselves, for ourselves, in hopes the world will take note of us and approve of us.


And we are responsible for the seeds we plant in this life and will live in the gardens we planted, but sometimes we plant in the wrong garden and what we thought was going to be such an amazing harvest pales in comparison to the one God wants to give us.


A lot of popular sayings sound good, but when you leave out Jesus, all you have left is a self-sufficient existence based on your performance and your ability to improve yourself and build your legacy – a cheaper, watered down version of the freedom and impact and joy-filled life Christ died for us to have. A life not just for ourselves, but one that spills over to those around us and not just inspires them to “do better” but points them back to the only real Truth, the only real Hope in this world, the only One who can really set anyone free, the only real source of joy, the only One who can overcome what comes against us in this life. Jesus Christ.


There is a lot of advice and inspiration floating around in the name of self-improvement. But what is self-improvement without a Savior? He is the fulfillment of what we long for, the joy that leaves happiness in the dust, the freedom from ourselves so we can be who we were really created to be, and His plans for us are better than anything we could ever try to create on our own!