Tears streamed down my face. I had tried so hard to follow the rules and had failed. I was stuck and didn’t know what to do. I’m in a big, Bible believing family, and I have gone to church all my life. I would say that I’ve always seemed pretty religious. I’ve seemed to be super nice and following God. But this really wasn’t the case…and I didn’t know what was wrong with my Christian walk. God was convicting me, but instead of leaning on Him for grace, I trusted myself. I thought that in order for God to love me, I had to work for it. It is completely true that Christians are supposed to act like Christ, but our works are not our “ticket to heaven”. In the New Testament, the difference between the disciples and the Pharisees was that the Pharisees tried to earn their salvation and were legalistic. Through this, they found that they could follow most of the rules and thought they were perfect. And that’s a sin right there, isn’t it? It’s pride! On the other hand, the disciples and followers of Christ knew that they needed Christ. They depended on grace. If you are desperately needy, do you think it’s easy to be prideful? No, of course not! Needing someone as desperately as we need Jesus is humbling. Besides, as Christians, we have to realize we are sinful and undeserving of God’s love. Unfortunately, during many years of my life I was a very legalistic Pharisee. I put my value in what I could do. And when I failed, I felt worthless and depressed! After finding that I couldn’t do it and realizing that I was relying on works too much, I tried to fix it…And that’s where I slipped back. I couldn’t do it, and I couldn’t fix it. I needed Jesus’ strength and help, and I didn’t see that. Instead, I stopped consistent Bible reading and prayer, and I drifted away from God. Every so often I would get an emotionally-based “spiritual high”, but it would pass away in a couple days. I desired to do the right thing and to follow God, but I didn’t know how. It just wasn’t right. Then I learned to pray for help. Instead of a prideful “I’ll have faith if it kills me!”, I had to humbly admit, “God, I need faith. You are the only one who can put this faith me. I need your help!” And God answered -slowly, but surely. I had to be desperately relying on Him for strength and grace. Now I know that I need Him, and He doesn’t need me. Now I know how great His love really is! Oh, and that’s another thing; because I was trusting my works to earn God’s love, God’s love didn’t seem that extraordinary. Instead, it was “deserved” and “easy to lose”. That’s actually how I felt! Oh, no; I would never say this out loud, but as I look back, I see that those were deeply embedded lies that I believed. I am still growing, but I have learned through all of this how weak I really am. I need God for purpose. I need God for strength. I need God for everything in life! He is the One who gives me my worth. I could never, ever earn His love! I praise God for how great His love really is!