Many Christians and those in the Christian blogosphere would say that we try our best to "live Biblically." I know I do. And I know that the longer I have walked with Christ, and the more I study Scripture, the more grateful I am for God's grace as I daily try to walk according to His Word. I was intrigued yesterday to catch an interview of an author who spent a year literally adhering to Biblical "rules." You can watch his "Today Show" interview here. It is fascinating.
The author, A. J. Jacobs, who describes himself as an agnostic, spent 52 weeks living as "Biblically" as he could. Right down to wearing robes, growing out his beard, playing the lyre, changing his eating habits, and of course, following the Ten Commandments. (He even stoned an adulterer! Seriously!) The whole thing is interesting to me on so many levels, and I'm sure there will be much discussion of his book in the blogosphere, but one thing I heard him say struck me yesterday:
Matt Lauer asked him "On your average day did you find that you were unable to fulfill this or were there days where you could absolutely fulfill it for 24 hours at a time?" His response was, "Never. You're always going to break rules. Especially the rules like coveting, gossiping, and lying. I was astounded by how much I sinned once you start to pay attention." "Really?" Matt replied, "So in other words you had a rude awakening that on a daily basis you covet and you lie?" A.J. responded, "Absolutely, and I never really followed all the rules, but you can try. You can try to become a better person... hopefully."
"I was astounded by how much I sinned..."
What a statement! This interview, and his book which details his "experiment," highlights the need for Christ, the need for a Savior. He looked into the law and it reflected back his own iniquity, and he saw it! He described himself at the end of the interview as still an agnostic (a "reverent agnostic," actually) and that he has incorporated certain Biblical principles into his life, like the Sabbath and thankfulness. He found that there are things that just... work. Things that bring peace. But what I think is the most amazing thing is that he showed that even those who don't acknowledge God realize they fall short. We can't keep the commandments on our own. We sin daily, all day. We are fallen.
At the end of the interview, Matt says, "Think fast, when's the last time you broke one of the Ten Commandments." A.J. replied, "Probably during this interview." Matt, laughing, asked, "Which one?" to which he said, chuckling "I don't know... it's hard to keep track..."
It sure is.
Oh, how I'm unspeakably grateful that it's not my ability to keep the commandments that has brought me into a relationship with God, but that it was Christ's sinlessness and payment on my behalf that make me righteous before a holy God. I am thankful every. single. day. that I'm not simply trying in my own power not to sin, or to prove myself worthy. Thank you God, for drawing me. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!