Christian Life

I Tried So Hard and Got So Far

The song “I Tried So Hard” by Linkin Park has been on my mind to write about for a little while.  I have it on my workout playlist, and I have been hearing it more lately. It’s not because I am working out more, but because I’ve been repainting a few rooms.

I’ve always liked the song, but over the past years, it has come to take on a new meaning.  Before, the song seemed to have a hopeless tone, it’s about trying your hardest and getting nowhere only to find out, in the end, it doesn’t matter.  But I found hope knowing that trying so hard doesn’t really matter.

One thing I don’t know why

It doesn’t even matter how hard you try

Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme

To explain in due time:

So let me explain in due time:

A mindset has changed over the past 10 years that has brought more freedom in my relationship with the Lord and other Christians. In the system of religion, there is a mentality that is pervasive and hindering the Lord’s people. The entire religious system is set up on the basis of trying harder to please God. We can only please God when we’re sinning less and regularly maintaining religious activities such as reading your Bible daily and praying. Or making sure you’re serving in the church and bringing one new person to church every week.

PLEASE HEAR ME: These activities are not bad in themselves but when our ONLY motive for doing them is so God is pleased with us, then it’s fundamentally starting at the wrong place, which is US.  

Being consumed with keeping my sins to a minimum and regularly participating in religious activities has become an idol, an icon of worship. When we’re consumed with these things they make us either self-righteous or wallow in self-pity.  We’re looking at SELF- whether in the form of righteousness or pity.  

This is only one of the reasons the system of religion fails to lead us to Christ, who He is in truth and reality. It fails because the system is set up with ME being the focus.  It’s about how well or how poorly I am doing to please God in all MY efforts, energies, and resources. The system of religion is a ME based focus, and we’ve become our own religion. We have more faith in and rely on our own efforts to please God more than we do in Christ Himself.

We’ve been fooled into thinking that being consumed with all this empty activity is somehow equal to being God-centered, God-focused. We’ve mixed up being “God-centered” with thinking it means consistently making myself “right” with God.

There is a meter we use to gauge this “rightness.” The more “rightness” equals an increase in God’s pleasure with us. Sometimes to balance the scales or raise the “rightness” meter, we’ll fill our mind with more knowledge about God, we’ll busy ourselves with more activities, or just give up trying to please Him.

Strangely, have you ever noticed that even when you’ve done everything you think would make you right with God, you still don’t feel like He is pleased with you? We are constantly riding an emotional roller coaster, and we don’t know that we can get off that ride.

One thing fundamentally wrong with this mindset which keeps us in bondage to ourselves is that the center is off.

The song I Tried So Hard speaks to this idea. It talks about the futile attempt to make something right finding out, in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

I remember a time when I tried so hard and got so far.  I kept trying all the time. I wore myself out, exhausted from never measuring up. I just didn’t know that all along there was one who already does. I realized that in the end, it doesn’t even matter how hard I try because it’s only  CHRIST who will ever Please God. He already does a better job than me anyway.

I love the line, “What it meant to me will eventually be a memory of a time when I tried so hard,”  because now it is just a memory. A fading memory of a time I tried so hard, but now I rest in the one who always pleases God.

These lines remind me of when I struggled in transitioning to this new mindset:

I tried so hard

In spite of the way you were mocking me

Acting like I was part of your property

Remembering all the times you fought with me

I’m surprised it got so far

I fought within myself as I was allowing Christ to take the role of pleasing GOD and not me. My self would mock me saying, if you stop keeping track of your sins or keeping up your religious activities you’ll fall off the deep end and stop pleasing God.  It mocked me like I was its property, like the old man owned me. The internal back and forth took a while until something broke-ME.  I am, now looking back, surprised it got so far or took me so long to realize-ONLY CHRIST PLEASES GOD!

This is me now:

Things aren’t the way they were before

You wouldn’t even recognize me anymore

Not that you knew me back then

But it all comes back to me in the end

Now that I know who truly pleases God,  I walk in freedom from religion. Now, years later, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. My old self-thought it recognized who pleased God and how to do it, but it didn’t know the truth of who CHRIST is for God and Me. It didn’t know that CHRIST was, is, and always will be who pleases God.

I’ve put my trust in you

Pushed as far as I can go

For all this

There’s only one thing you should know

I tried so hard

And got so far

But in the end

It doesn’t even matter

I had put my trust in myself and the religious system in order to please God. I was pushed as far as I could go and for all this, there is only one thing my old self should know: you can try as hard as you want but in the end, it doesn’t matter. All my efforts to please God, in the end, don’t matter. Because it’s not about me!

To get to this point:

I had to fall

To lose it all

But in the end

It doesn’t even matter

 

I had to fall, I had to stop trying to please God. I gave up me being the center of God’s pleasure. 

To lose my life, stop trusting in my self-effort and resources to please God.

Because in the END, it is only CHRIST who pleases GOD.

Your Self tries to convince you that you’ll lose everything if you fall, but the truth is you gain CHRIST which is the true everything anyways. You only lose what should be lost anyway.

FOCUS ON CHRIST

You see pleasing God is not about US at all, it’s about Christ.

Did you know that Christ is the only one who can and will ever please God?

You will never please God, so you can STOP trying so hard because you’ll only get so far and in the end, it does not even matter because it’s only CHRIST who matters.

TRUTH: No amount of effort on your part will make God be more or less pleased with you because He is ONLY pleased with His Son.

We’re exhorted several times in scripture to look away unto and depend on CHRIST, not ourselves. Christ is the center of everything God does. All things are held together by Christ. All things were made by, to, through, and for CHRIST. CHRIST is the head of all things and everything is under His feet. All the fullness is PLEASED to dwell in CHRIST. God said on several occasions that he spoke before through prophets and such but now he ONLY speaks through HIS SON. God even told Peter and JOHN to LISTEN to CHRIST JESUS and not Moses or Elijah.

The Good NEWS, the day you believed into Christ, you were placed in the ONLY person who fully, and eternally pleases God-CHRIST!  What a relief! Now you can rest! Christ Jesus was not kidding when he said his burden is light and His yoke is easy: BECAUSE HE GAVE HIMSELF TO BE PLEASURE FOR GOD FOR US!!  It Pleases GOD when we agree with Him that only His son will please Him.

When we know that Christ is the only one who pleases God then we can rest from our efforts to please God and just enjoy God in Christ. That is so foreign to many Christians, not all but many. It was to me at one time, too.

When we remove ourselves from the center we get to experience something we’ve never experienced before and that is CHRIST as God’s pleasure. We get to soak in the pleasure God has for His Son. We can participate in GOD’s pleasure for His Son by allowing Christ to be for us God’s true and full pleasure. Our only job is to pleasure in the ONLY ONE who brings God pleasure-CHRIST. I like that job! Listening to this song reminds me of the reality God brought me into, and I rejoice in who Christ is now. 

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