Do not keep back from Christ under the idea that you must come to Him in a disinterested frame, and from an unselfish motive. If you were right in this thing, who could be saved? You are to come as you are; with all your bad motives, whatever these may be. Take all your bad motives, add them to the number of your sins, and bring them all to the altar where the great sacrifice is lying. Go to the mercy seat. Tell the High Priest there, not what you desire to be, nor what you ought to be, but what you are…He wants you to come to Him exactly as you are, and not to cherish the vain thought that, by a little waiting, or working, or praying, you can make yourself fit, or persuade Him to make you fit.
– Horatious Bonar (1808-1889), God’s Way of Peace
Scottish pastor Horatius Bonar wrote this to people who were holding back from becoming Christians because they thought they had wrong motives for doing so. But I also see how this applies to people who are already Christians. How many times have I avoided meeting with the Lord in prayer or Bible study because I think I have to clean up my act first? I know that when I came to Christ for salvation, I came “as is,” knowing that I could not cleanse myself of the spiritual filth in my life; in fact, that’s why I came to Him, so He could cleanse me, because only He could. So why do I think it’s any different when I come to him now? As Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia,
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Galatians 3:1-3, NIV)
Whether I’m coming to Christ for the first time or the thousandth time, I must come as I am to the cross, trusting in His sacrifice alone to cleanse me from my sin. He doesn’t expect me to clean up my own act, because I am incapable of doing so, just as incapable as I was when I first received Christ as my savior over 35 years ago. And He is still able and eager to do it for me when I come in faith to Him.