You can't find a better way to be in a relationship with God than through Jesus.
It is all centers around Jesus. If he is who he said he was and he really did what the Bible says he did, then we have nothing to fear and everything to gain. We can risk everything because Jesus sets us free from tyranny, sin, oppression, death and all evil. We have nothing to fear because we are in the truly risking nothing.
So much of the Christian life is spent formally or informally practicing the spiritual disciplines. This is born out of the positive desire to be closer to God but also out of negative fear that we will be punished or not lead a blessed life. Our moral failings—sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, violence, et cetera—are serious but they have no actual power over us if what we believe about Jesus is true.
Thus, if we pit spiritual disciplines against moral failings using the argument that if I am more spiritual then I will have fewer moral failings, the argument immediately falls flat. Our moral failings have no impact on our salvific status and only impact out temporal state. But out temporal state is not only temporary but also largely selfish. Even the idea of escaping addiction emanates from a desire to better oneself and to make one’s life someone more comfortable either by avoiding legal ramifications, societal scorn, or health complications.
We should view our moral failings as having put ourselves in harm’s way for the sake of the gospel much like the martyrs put their physical wellbeing in harm’s way. They viewed their physical earthly form as not even worthy of being preserved. This doesn’t mean that every selfish act of indulgence and decadence is justifiable. Grotesque destructive acts of self-indulgence are repugnant because it serves no one including the person who theoretically was to gain the most pleasure. They are wasteful, destructive, and suicidal.
The proper Christian witness puts the believers in contact with the worst the world has to offer. These people fill their emptiness with all manner of very attractive and delicious vices. Putting ourselves into their world means that we might be tempted and we might actual fail.
Is not Christianity the religion of the forgiven? Is not grace the cornerstone of who we are? Should we not forgive all as we have been forgiven? Should we not even forgive ourselves after we try but slip up? And what if we end up a real mess? Who cares? Our father in heaven doesn’t so why do we care what people think?
We worry about what Christians think about us even though it is non-Christians that need to hear our message. Even if non-Christians find our lifestyle attractive or are moved by how living according to biblical principles seems to work, the actual message of Christianity isn’t about an attractive life that works. The message is that even in our completely broken life, we can have a relationship with our Creator. We are not estranged from our Creator because of anything we do or do not do nor can we be in a relationship with our Creator because of something we do or do not do.
The irony is that we are powerless to initiate or sustain the relationship. This means that the good life we lead of wealth, prosperity, and moral rectitude is actually a lie. We are poor, failing, and corrupt. That is our true nature and it is in spite of this true nature that we are saved. We live a lie when we flaunt the pretty Christian side. It is repulsive to everyone and in the end portrays the opposite message that we are trying to spread.
True Christian community is a place where empathy is easy because all of us are wounded and struggle to keep our heads above the filthy water. We have no advice or judgment. All we can do is nod our heads, hug each other, and cry together.