I was listening to an old message from Craig Groeschel about not being good enough and for some reason it really stuck with me. Often times in life we walk around with a soundtrack playing in the back of our mind. The phrase that is stuck on repeat is “You’re not good enough.” We listen to this over and over and we get sad and depressed and start to agree with it. The problem is that it’s true!
You’re not good enough!
Sounds so depressing doesn’t it? No! Not at all, it’s actually a good thing. Satan’s mission is reveals in John 10:10 that he has come to steal, kill and destroy you! He will lie to you to beat you down and discourage you or he will even say things that are true but in such a way that will depress you and make you feel worthless. He will tell you that you’re not good enough, and it’s true! But he is trying to destroy you. But that very statement can actually set you free!
If I ever have any hope of becoming all that God wants me to be I need to realize something very important about myself. I will never be good enough. It’s not bad news though when we look at it from God’s perspective. Many people go around trying to serve God to gain his approval, instead of serving him out of love because he has already approved of us.
When we look at the Bible something very startling stands out. God used imperfect people. We will often slap the title “saint” or “apostle” on someone and fail to realize that they were real and raw and imperfect just like you and me.
Abraham said that he was nothing but “dust and ashes” in Genesis 18:27.
Isaiah was called by God to be a prophet and Isaiah responded back in Isaiah 6:5 saying that he was nothing more than a sinner with filthy lips. Have you ever felt like you have filthy lips?
In Luke 5:8 we see the Great Most-Holy Saint Apostle Peter telling Jesus to leave him because he realized that he was too much of a sinner to be around Jesus.
The Wonderful Apostle Paul tells his apprentice Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 that he is THE worst sinner there has even been! He then goes on to claim that God chose him so he could be an example of how God could use even the worst of the worst.
None of these people were good enough, and they realized it.
Romans 3:23 says that we had all fallen short of God’s standard. It’s kind of like when Evil Knievel attempted to jump over the Snake River with his Skycycle X2. He had good intentions but he fell short. He didn’t make it.
We have all fallen short. The most righteous person you know has sinned and fallen short. It doesn’t matter who you are, or how spiritual you may think you are, you have fallen short.
So our enemy starts saying “You’re not good enough” and trying to condemn you. So what happens? We try to perform better. We try to do more. To be more. To be better. And if we aren’t performing well we start to feel all this guilt and we fall into a trap.
Here is what happens in our lives when we start trying to live out a works-based system and try to earn God’s approval:
We Try to Please God by Following Rules
Some people think that earn God’s acceptance by what you do. So they follow a bunch or rules. They will even get together with other rule-followers and compare rules. Then they will criticize those people who don’t adhere to the same set of rules that they do. So they do all kinds of things to earn God’s approval like reading the bible, praying, giving, witnessing, and so on. These things aren’t bad, but they aren’t how we gain God’s approval and acceptance.
On the other side of the coin, some people think that they gain righteousness by not doing certain things. So they won’t listen to secular music, don’t watch rated R movies, or even PG-13 if there’s sex in it, but violence is OK.
Basically they are trying to get right with God by following their own prescribed set of rules and regulations. When they are following them well then the feel like they are close to God. When they aren’t following them well they feel far from him.
We Believe that Our Value is Based on How We Perform
I tend to fall into this a lot. When I am productive I feel like I have more value than when I am not producing as much. Am I valuable just on my own? Is my value really based on how much I can produce or how well I can perform?
Paul once lived trying to perform well. Trying to do things to gain God’s approval. In Philippians 3:4-9 he tells us some of the things that he has done:
– He was circumcised. Apparently an important thing back then!
– He was pure-blooded Hebrew. Specifically from the tribe of Benjamin.
– He was also a Pharisee which was the strictest kind of Hebrew. This would have gained him a lot of respect from the Hebrews.
– He persecuted the heretics.
– He obeyed the law perfectly. And they had 613 laws!
So if anyone was good enough, it was Paul. But he wasn’t good enough! He goes on to say that all the things that he did was just a bunch of skuvbalon or skubala. He says that it was all a loss! Many Bible version try to soften the Bible and translate the word shuvbalon as rubbish or trash. Others get closer by defining it as dung. However, neither of those come close to saying what Paul was trying to communicate. Skuvbalon was a cuss word! It was crass and derogatory! What Paul was saying was that all the good things he did was nothing but shit!
If I took the same approach as Paul it would go something like this:
I was born the child of a pastor. I came to understand the salvation and the price that Jesus paid at two and a half years old. I began memorizing Scriptures around the same time and soon knew one for every letter of the alphabet. I started teaching in Children’s church when I was twelve years old and taught weekly until I was 16 and finally got my own weekly class. After several years I started teaching during the midweek as well therefore teaching twice a week. When I was 21 I became the Children’s Pastor. A few years later I became the small groups pastor. A few years after that I became the Executive Pastor and managed all the staff and operations of the church. Now I now serve as the Worship Pastor. But I consider it all a pile of shit that I can have Christ and his mercy.
All my works? My efforts? A big pile of stinking shit! I don’t have what it takes! I cannot do enough to gain God’s approval. But through his mercy he has already approved of me and chose me and therefore I serve him out of love. I don’t serve his to gain his approval, I serve him because I have his approval!
Galatians 1:15-16 says that God calls us because of his grace. Not because we are awesome. Not because we follow rules. Not because we avoid certain things. Because he is good and he loves us and wants to give us his grace.
Don’t get caught up with trying to be good enough for God. You aren’t. But through Jesus Christ you can be made right with God. You don’t need to please or impress anyone. You’re worth is not based on what you do, but on who Jesus says you are!