A better you in 12 steps

a-better-you‘Better You’ is trending. The whole world is busy getting the utmost out of itself. Normal isn’t good enough any more. Superlatives are whizzing past your ears. Of course in commercials, but even in job advertisements. In isn’t about what you can do for the company, but it is about what the company can do for you.

Life is socially engineerable, many people believe. You can have your best life now, if only you make the right choices. You chose the right education, de right friends, the right neighbourhood, the right phone, the right clothing, the right car and the employer who can give you the best perspective on growth. Of course you continually share all your successes on the right social media. Everything is within reach, nothing can stop you. People who don’t reach their best life are losers. They only can blame themselves. They just should have made better choices. ‘

Are we different in church, or do we go with the flow?

Jesus said He has come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. In the Bible are written down a lot more promises of God. A lot of the promises are accompanied by conditions, something you have to do in order to get the promise. Obeying God, for instance. The bible emphasises not to sin and to lead a holy life. The combination of these two soon leads to a quid pro quo faith, ‘If you make the right choices in life, if you do the right things, then you will be blessed’. This belief can be found in every church, not just in the prosperity movement, only there it is more obvious.

Across the entire church people are busy becoming a better version of themselves. You should say this is biblical, but what really happens when we are trying to get the maximum out of ourselves and our lives, also in religion?

In the first place I get egocentric. I am continually focussed on myself, on my behaviour, my sins, my calling, my purpose. As long as the church is able to help me, the church remains relevant in my life.

Secondly I become dissatisfied. What I have is no longer good enough. It should be better because it could be better.

Thirdly I become a hypocrite. Nobody’s life is as good as their Facebook page, but everybody is pretending. Also in church, my house is a gift from heaven, my car is wonderful, my holiday was above and beyond. My agenda is filled, I am always needed somewhere, but there is always time for a Latte with my BF. Is is all about building relations of course. My quiet time was awesome, I post bible quotes, like the awesome Sunday service and re-tweet Christian sayings. On the outside every thing seems to be all right.

Egocentric, dissatisfied and a hypocrite, twelve steps backwards before you know it. The chance is you don’t become a better human when you are seriously going to work on it. With Paul we sigh we want to do the good things, but don’t do them. Life seems engineerable – you just make the right choices, but in real life it appears not to be that easy.

Jesus said, “it is finished”. Hij died and rose again because we can’t do it. In Christ we are a new creation, the holy Spirit lives in us, He makes us bear fruit. If we stay in touch with Him, after a while we will notice an increase of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives. We don’t have to work hard for that, we don’t have to fight, it will grow by itself then.

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”