What if the desire to be good is a diversion from what really matters most, which is what one wants?
In my attempt to be a good person, I grab onto some act or accumulation of good works from the past as justification of my goodness. In so doing, I ignore the continuous passage of time (the continuous series of instantaneous “now” moments) and focus on whatever thing or things I did in the past, attempting to determine my current status with God as a result or function of my previous activities. By thus defining myself as good, I may assign a status to my current self that ignores my ongoing (and most importantly current) relationship with God. I may have had good desires in the past. But any attempt to use those previous instances of wanting God or what He offers to tell myself I am good, especially when the desires of my heart are not oriented toward God in the present moment, lay a quick and easy foundation for apostasy and self deception.
That’s why the only question that really seems to matter is: What are the desires of my heart right now–at this very moment? If they are not drawn to God and His offer of freely and always-available love, then does it really matter if I can revert to a checklist of seemingly righteous behavior from the past to lull myself into a sense of carnal security and self righteousness? If the only question that matters is what I really, truly want at this exact moment, then would I not be better off to completely dispose of the concept of trying to be good, and focus only on wanting God right now in this very moment? Would not turning to God and living be just that? Such an existence becomes more clear; either I desire God or I desire what this world has to offer. That makes things much easier to understand. Either I turn to God and live (which is repentance), or not. Those are my two real, mutually exclusive choices.