One way to think about salvation is that God saves us from ourselves and He saves us from our sins. Even after we become children of God by faith in Christ, habits hound us and true and lasting change can seem hard to come by.
When you try to change yourself, the change is often partial and temporary. But when God is the One doing it, the change is deep and lasting. How's that work?
Several months ago, my wife and I watched the movie Pelé: Birth of a Legend about the Brazilian soccer star and his rise to fame. When we lived in Russia and my sons were young, we watched a lot of soccer (or "football," as the rest of the world calls it). Watching the Brazilian team, I understood why their style of play came to be known as "the beautiful game." But according to the movie, there was a long, dry period when their game was not so beautiful.
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the movie, and I am not suggesting that the actors or the persons they portrayed were saints. I think it's safe to assume that they were all very human and flawed, like the rest of us. However, as a story, the movie touched me deeply.
What I realized some days later about the scene in the movie Pele that touched me so deeply was the incredibly intense sense of vindication that it communicated. And what I saw was that everyone—every single human being on this planet—has a cavernous yearning for vindication of one sort or another. Everyone is looking for the justification of their existence…to know somehow that "I'm ok, I'm worthy, I'm valuable."