‘Why can’t you be good?,’ sang Larry Norman, ‘why can’t you behave?.’
He wasn’t telling anybody off. He was making the pertinent observation that it is impossible to be perfect. He is right. Even as a Christian, you try and be a credit to Jesus, but you know it’s not really authentic. Even with refreshing worship, upbeat exhortational teaching, we fail to achieve it. Like Peter on the waves, it is tricky, so tricky, to keep your eye on Jesus, and we start sinking.
But then again, we should know better. As Paul chided the Galatians, why are you trying to finish (in the flesh, by your own efforts) what was started, by God, in the spirit (his initiative)
So should we not bother? No way. It is our duty, our privilege, purpose and destiny. To be perfect, no less! That’s what Jesus said.
Surrender. Humble yourself before the mighty hand of God. Draw near to God, and so let him draw near to you. You know these things. You have asked to be sent out as a living sacrifice regularly, to live to His praise and glory.
Paul knew he couldn’t fulfil the law, but when he realised that his heart had been changed so that, with all his desire, he wanted to, that’s when it clicked! He was free from condemnation, and free to, in a humble and joyous way, see God’s perfection spark up in him. The Jesus life bursting out of him.
That’s why you can’t be good, but that’s why He can’t fail be to good in you.