In my mom’s stored-away folder of my childhood papers, I found several years ago a letter that I had written to Santa Claus. Finding great significance in it, I framed it and it hangs beside my bed.
At six years old, I had been practicing my penmanship with my classmates at school and I decided to continue practicing it at home by writing Santa a letter asking him for a brand new purple bike.
During that time, however, I struggled with obeying my parents and as a result had gotten sent to my room pretty often, and I felt bad about it. But I really wanted that bike. So, I decided to write Santa and ask for it acknowledging my failed attempts with a sure promise that I would try harder to obey from then on.
The letter, faded and difficult to read, is rewritten in bold below.
Novemeber 8, 1971
Dear Santa Please
May I have a bike.
I have tried to be god
but it is hard.
Next year I will try
harder I promise
The envelope is below the letter and reads,
If you notice in the letter, besides misspelling November, I spelled good, “god.” You can see where my mom corrected it by tightly squeezing in the other “o” which makes the ink darker there on the right side of the page almost half-way down. I find that mistake not coincidental at all considering the progressive theme of my life.
At six years-old I began sincerely trying to be good. But in Mark 10:18b, Christ said, “There is no one [essentially and perfectly morally] good–except God alone.”
That vere brings us swiftly to the bottom line and hard to swallow conclusion: If only God is good, then my attempts to be good were really attempts to be God.
Considering Christ’s words, if no one can be good except for God, then why do we try to be good? Obviously according to that verse, it is completely impossible.
Remember Isaiah 14:14? “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” This verse reveals our arrogance in our efforts to be good, however sincere.
The fact is, when I was trying to be good, I thought I was doing the right thing. But, according to Mark 10:18, I was unknowingly trying to be God because only God is good. And to think that in my first grade letter to Santa I accidentally wrote “god” instead of “good.” Wow. Trying to be God is hard!
If this offends you, I understand. I used to believe that I could be good, too, and that all my efforts in doing so counted as brownie points with God.
But I have found that I cannot be good. And that revelation is an awesome thing. What God has taught me is that I can stop trying to be good and instead, choose to receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness as my own. When I do I become like Him progressively as His Spirit works within me conforming me to His image.
I will not make myself like anything (Isaiah 14:14), especially not God. Obviously, I do not possess that inherent ability. But by the power of God’s Spirit I will humble myself, receive His gift of righteousness and allow Him to do as He pleases with me. That is what pleases Him to no end.
Thank God I don’t have to make myself like the Most High. Thank God He has initiated that process for me. And thank God in His timing He will bring it to completion!
“Why do you call Me [essentially and perfectly morally] good? There is no one [essentially and perfectly morally] good–except God alone.”
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.
Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:12
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.