I find it quite hard to live the Christian life. It's very demanding. It makes one tired. It makes one hopeless. To live the Christian life is to live a life of doing. To live a life perfecting yourself under the guise that you can become more like Christ. The Christian life is an endless pursuit towards holiness. This endless pursuit is exactly why the Christian bookstores keep the shelves stocked year after year with "how-to" books. Has anyone achieved this holiness yet? Have any of you reading this been able to see a marked improvement in becoming more and more like Christ? Do you really see a difference in your behavior as every year passes? Are you truly getting better? Is it consistent? Do you keep failing and trying again? That is what I've experienced. I try and fail. I try again and fail again. Each time striving harder. Each time doing more than I did the last. And each time failing miserably. Is this our real pursuit? Or should it be something else? I believe it is indeed to be something else. Read Colossians 2 for clarity on this. Most Christians live in a mixed covenant. A little bit of the old and a little bit of the new. But the new covenant has granted us something the old never could. It gave us righteousness. And not a righteousness we could ever possibly attain. But Christ's one, true righteousness. This is bestowed on us, because of Him, as if we did it ourselves. If we rest in this truth, remind ourselves of it everyday, we will learn to live the normal Christian life. Not the Christian life that pleads for us to do more and more to gain something. We must always know that we have already been given all. And all comes through Christ. If He is in you then you are perfected. It's OK to live in the tension of doing things wrong and still knowing you are righteous. If there is something in your life that is in the way, something that is hurting you or others; if it is keeping you from functioning, rid yourselves of it. It's easy to pick out sins we do that we need to stop but it may be, in fact, trying to live this so called Christian life that is in the way. I want to encourage you to treat others with love. To pursue Christ. Read His Word. Tell others about Him. But most importantly REST. When you think you can't, rest and know that He did. When you think you are going to fail, rest and know that He has lifted you up. And every mistake can become a place to say thanks to God our Father for giving us His Son and always seeing His righteousness in us when we are at our lowest. Be encouraged to rest. Be encouraged that instead of your vain attempts to become more like Christ, you have already been made like Him by Him. Wow. That is good news, friends. This is true branch living.