You’re not good enough.
We get hives when we’re told we’re not good enough. I think we have all witnessed and had visceral reactions when presented with the thought that we are not good enough for something. Watch as a high school senior receives a rejection letter from their first pick college. When confronted with not being good enough worlds feel like they’re shattered. Why?
Our reaction to not being good enough gives us an indication of a couple of different things: first – we want to be good, or at least we want others to think that we’re good. Second – our reaction indicates that we were once good enough. An emotional response to the first is simple to understand, allow me to expound the second.
I am not a soldier. I do not take offense at being told I am not a soldier. Why? Because I never was and I do not strive to be a soldier. But if you were to tell a veteran he’s not a soldier he would take offense. Why? Because he trained, he labored, and he served as a soldier. He has memories of it. He no longer serves, he’s no longer a soldier, but he was.
Might the fact that we take offense at being told we’re not good enough reflect the fact that we once were, back in Eden before sin corrupted us and our world?
Sin mars us, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically. It’s a painful reminder that we have failed, made bad decisions, hurt someone, broken a law, etc. Back in Eden we were good enough. We were made in the very image of the Creator of the universe, the King of Angel Armies (pretty impressive, right?) Back in Eden we were in constant fellowship with the One who breathed breath into our lungs. Then we fell. We chose sin over fellowship with God. How heartbreaking it must have been for Him to have to separate Himself from the creation He had so longed for. We failed, we made a bad choice, we hurt Him, we broke the law.
We are so far removed from perfection that we literally count up the good things we do. We try to keep a file, as if at the end of our lives if they somehow balance out we’ll be good to go. We all know people that think that a loving God couldn’t possibly send them to hell after He hears about all the good things they’ve done…Or at least all the bad things they could have done but didn’t.
That’s not good enough.
We are not good enough! God is loving, holy, just, righteous, and merciful. We are told that His justice exacts punishment for sin (Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death). Nowhere in scripture do we see Paul or Timothy writing that as long as we’re not as bad as our neighbor or our intentions are good God will give us a pass. In fact, according to 1 Corinthians 13:3 “if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” In last week’s blog I studied the Lord’s definition of love, but for brevity, love is keeping God’s commandments (10 commandments, as evidenced in Matthew 19:16 ff.)
We could willingly be martyred for Christ, but if we do not follow Him with our lives it means nothing.
You’re not good enough.
We cannot keep His commandments perfectly. We have all lied, coveted, and put things before the Lord. Almost no one keeps the seventh (Sabbath) day holy. But here’s the thing: we try. We are supposed to try. We are supposed to care about what is important to the Lord. If we love the Lord we can safely put our trust in the sacrifice that he provided for all who would enter covenant with Him. When we do that He covers us. Much like how the judgment of the death angel passed over obedient homes that put lamb’s blood on the door frame (Passover), His judgment of death passes over us when we are obediently covered in the blood of The Lamb.
Christ made a way back into fellowship with Him. That is true love, indeed. We can love Him because He first loved us. We can never be good enough. Our best will never gain us access to Him. It is only when we humbly submit to God’s way that we will ever know life…