By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Whether you run a 40 or 400 head cattle operation, chances are you’re looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the operation from cutting costs to better use of supplements in feed.

A horse training could be working to build a reputation to be the person a buyer goes to for a good roping horse.

That roper in turn puts time and effort to improve his skills with a lasso and to continue training his horse so together, they stand a better chance of winning the next rodeo.

There’s pressure to be better husbands and wives. There’s pressure to be better parents. There’s pressure to be better children. Pressure can come out of any number of difficult situations that put obstacles in the way of what we just want to be our happy lives. We put it on ourselves. or it comes from outside our control.

It can also feel like there’s pressure to be better Christians.

As we study our Bibles, learn from church sermons and are discipled by other believers, it can seem overwhelming to see how Jesus lived, how he taught us to live our lives and to think we’re supposed to be like him.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

With Christ in us, there’s no pressure to change. The Holy Spirit is doing the work in us. That’s called sanctification, and is the process of becoming more like Jesus that begins when we experience salvation.

That’s where grace comes in. The first time we encounter it is in our salvation experience, when we are saved through Jesus’s death on the cross, realizing he took the punishment meant for our own sins. We then continue to experience grace each time we feel like we don’t measure up to the standards Jesus set for us.

Romans 3:23-24 Fall have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Being justified means that through our salvation, we may not be perfect but God no longer sees our sin. That’s the grace God gives us—that we are no longer seen as sinners. That’s when sanctification begins.

As Paul says in Philippians, a good work was begun in us. That work is sanctification, the process of becoming more like Jesus. But he is clear that process won’t be complete until ‘the day of Christ Jesus.’ We understand that to mean that we won’t be perfect until we pass on to Heaven.

When we understand these things, the grace we’ve been given should be a motivator to want to be more like Jesus. Knowing there is no expectation we will ever be perfect in this life but that God is working in us to change us, we don’t need to feel any pressure to change. It will happen as God wants it to happen.

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