It might be news to many, but being good is not the goal of the Christian. In fact Jesus lay that one to rest when he rebuked the one who addressed him as Good Master. “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:” (Matt. 19:16)
If one strives to be good, if he is successful, he will inevitably fall into the trap of self-righteousness, or if he falls short, into self-condemnation. Both of these are unholy states, and render the subject of no use to God or man! I know full well because I have been there! I have found the following a safe guide away from such dereliction: “No good is, but the good God bestows.” (S&H)
St Paul brings home the lesson in the magnificent I Corinthians 13, the audio for this page:
Paraphrased, no matter how good I am, without charity (aka love) I am nothing. The list of examples of good is impressive. To dismiss them as nothing seems pretty harsh, especially since we associate at least some of them with love itself! The message must be spiritual, for humanly speaking it makes no sense.
Yes, in the text, charity is love, but divine Love, not human. And what is the difference? The human thinks he is something independent of God. He may periodically pay obeisance, but then again, he may not. He may love or he may not. A startling statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures further elucidates: “The human mind is opposed to God and must be put off, as St Paul declares.” It attracts attention to itself at the expense of recognition of God’s allness, and sooner or later, reaps the unhappy reward.
In contrast, we look to the Wayshower: “Of myself I can do nothing. The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” This expresses divine Love, a state of man’s coexistence with God, an indestructible relationship. This was the basis of Jesus’ teaching and example. His purpose was not to cultivate good human achievers, so-to-speak, in fact he expressed his utter disdain for those who did everything right humanly, but ignored the will of God! Rather he was encouraging his followers to follow his example, to accept their rightful place in the kingdom of heaven where man’s sole purpose is to do the will of his Maker. "Fear not little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."