Never Good Enough

Some people are just hard to please.  No amount of effort is enough.  No task is done right.  Even thoughtful gestures or gifts are received in such a way as to let you know you fell short somehow.  Trying to please the hard-to-please person is wearying.  After a while, I don’t even want to try.

I wonder if some have this view of God.  They feel like they can never serve enough to please Him.  No sacrifice is great enough and no amount of effort will satisfy His demands.  This view of God is not biblical.  Yes, He wants us to be “living sacrifices” (Rom. 12:1).  Yes, He wants us to put Him first (Matt. 6:33).  And yes, He even wants us to strive to live as righteously as possible (Gal. 5:19-21).  But He is very pleased with our efforts to do just that.  How do I know?  Two words:  blood and grace.

Blood.  We’re all going to sin (Rom. 3:23).  Even the most faithful Christian will stumble (1 John 1:8).  Instead of being hard to please, God made it possible for us to still be pleasing to Him.  “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  We don’t have to worry about never being good enough because the God we serve is faithful and righteous to forgive.

Grace.  Day by day the blood of Christ is washing away my imperfections, and day by day the grace of God is strengthening my heart (Heb. 13:9).  Right after we’re told that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, we’re also told that we “are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).  Instead of being hard to please, God has given us this beautiful gift (Eph. 2:8).  He gives this gift of grace to us in abundance (2 Pet. 1:2).  And He wants this grace to give us confidence, knowing that we can turn to Him for help at any time (Heb. 4:16).  Troy Woolery, a recent graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute, said, “When we’re lacking, grace fills in the gaps.”

“I’ll never be good enough.”  This sentiment causes some nonChristians to put off obeying the gospel because they feel they’ll never be able to measure up.  It causes some Christians to want to quit because they feel like they can never get it right.  Who wants the nonChristian to reject salvation?  Who wants the Christian to give up in despair?  It’s not God.  Instead of feeling like we can never be good enough, He wants us to know that He has made us more than enough.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

(Rom. 8:37)

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Are Christians Your Favorite People?

Have you ever spent time around a couple or a family that ridiculed each other?  Whether it was under the guise of teasing or flat-out verbal lashing, you could feel the tension and contempt.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it.  I don’t like being around couples that mock each other in such a way as to make a point.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t like being around families that have nothing but scorn for one another.  It makes me want to run away.  And it’s just so sad.  Where’s the love and respect?  What have they experienced together that created such bitterness?  It makes me shake my head.

May Christians never treat each other in such a way that our non-Christian friends shake their head.  The church is the household of God (Eph. 2:19), and we’re to treat each other brotherly, sisterly, fatherly (1 Tim. 5:1,2).  We’re to “love one another with brotherly affection” and “outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10).  These aren’t just words to read but actions to put into practice!  How does the world SEE us loving and honoring fellow Christians?

In an effort to keep from being seen as harsh and judgmental, we’ve gotten good at extending grace to the worldly.  Let’s not neglect to extend grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ as well.  Instead of being quick to publicly point out what Christians are doing wrong or how they’ve let us down, shouldn’t we be working hard to show the world that fellow Christians are our favorite (John 13:34,35)?

I just don’t think that “fighting the good fight” means fighting each other.  In the same chapter, Paul warns against those who have an “unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction” (1 Tim. 6:4,5).  In the same chapter, Paul encourages us to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (v. 11).  That’s how we “fight the good fight of faith” (v. 12).  That’s how we “keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 14).

Because we have received grace, let’s freely extend grace to all, Christian and non-Christian alike.  Let’s draw the world to Christ by showing them something they’ll want to have for themselves.  I’m naturally drawn to couples and families that are kind and loving toward each other.  I want to be with them.  I want to learn from them and share in their joy.  What an opportunity we have as Christians to attract others to Christ by the way we honor, promote, love, and lift up each other!

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10, emphasis mine).

Thanks to Christa Bassett for the photo.
Thanks to Christa Bassett for the photo.