Ever wondered about the key to a successful Christian walk? Maybe not. Maybe you’re one of those who seem to have it all figured out. Maybe you’re so Spirit-filled you shine God’s light in every dark corner you cross. If so, I’m exceedingly glad for you… and a bit jealous, to be honest.

I’m one of those who feels like I’ve never measured up. At night I consider the previous day: every aspect of it from where I went, what I thought and said, how much time I gave to God, how much time I wasted. Usually I find myself lacking and beat myself up mentally, saying one more in a long line of ‘Forgive me, God’ prayers. Then I wake up the next morning and try again. It’s a vicious cycle… and a needless one.

I’m not sure where I learned it, but I realize that I’ve fallen into a walk of legalism. It’s amazing how easily and undetected legalism can slip in and have a field-day with faith. It seems I’ve always tried to measure up. To fit into what I perceived to be a suitable mold. Christians should act ‘such and such’ a way.

Is our Christian walk measured in how we act or what we do? A lost person can feed the hungry and clothe the poor. Someone who doesn’t know God can just as easily take care of widows and orphans. I’m not saying these aren’t important, we are told to do them. But simply doing these things isn’t enough. So what’s the difference?

I’ve been studying the Baptist Catechism. And it applies to all of us. Whether you’re Baptist, Methodist, Nondenominational, or any other denomination, Biblical Truths are central to all who follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Question five lead me to 1 John 2:20-27. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us – eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie – just as it has taught you, abide in him. (ESV)

This, in turn, brought John chapter 15 to my mind. Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (vs. 5, 8-11 ESV)

Abide in Christ. Abide in His love. Abide in His commandments, which the number one is: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV)

Many actions I’m slave to wouldn’t hold me in such bondage if I fully lived abiding in Christ. Many doubts that creep in would hold no sway if I was abiding in His promises.

But there is hope even when we fail time and time again. After all, even Paul said: For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15, 24-25 ESV)

My point here is that filling our days with activities to try and be the Christian we feel we should be will leave us feeling disappointed and unfruitful. But if our goal every morning when we wake is to live every second of the day abiding in Christ, then we will be fruitful. And, a great bonus to this is if we’re abiding in Him, we won’t have time to wallow in our personal pity-parties of where we don’t measure up.

The Christian walk isn’t a matter of measuring up or filling a mold, it’s a matter of abiding in Christ.