When did good become not good enough? When did a “mini” size not become as good as a “small” size? When did a milkshake become better than lemonade?
I spent this past week with my nephew who is ten years old. Bless his heart….he is a good kid. He complied with the rules and regulations that you have to follow while staying at Grandmama’s house and (for the most part) used manners at the appropriate times (although we’re still working on the chewing with your mouth closed part—it’s a work in progress)…..
But, over time I noticed a pattern. It seemed as if nothing was good enough for him. (Let me step aside for a minute and say….he is NOT the only one with this problem).
• I offered to buy him a “mini size” sno-cone; he wanted a “small.”
• I offered to buy him lemonade; he wanted a milkshake.
• I offered him an 8 inch pizza; he wanted a 10 inch one.
It was never good enough…so it seemed.
But, aren’t we all the same way? And adults are sometimes the worst!!
(I promise I’m not picking on my nephew at all. God just used him as a catalyst for a blog post. It’s an honor, really)! 😉
But, as adults….don’t we do the same thing…..
• We are always trying to achieve ENOUGH…
• We are always trying to live up to ENOUGH…
• We are never satisfied because we don’t have ENOUGH…
And what we do have is not ENOUGH…
It’s an epidemic that we have bought into, that we can never obtain. We run ourselves ragged trying to always achieve ENOUGH….
You’ve probably heard this question before: If you were to die tonight and stand before God and He said to you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?” What would you say to him? Would you list your achievements?
I am generally a good person, Lord.
• I don’t drink.
• I don’t swear.
• I tithe regularly.
• I go to church on a regular basis.
• I take my children to church.
• I pray before every meal.
• I won the award for “Most Bible Verses Memorized” when I was in the 6th grade S.S. class with Ms. Wilson.
• I can name all the books of the Bible.
• I volunteer in the nursery at church.
• I have volunteered with Meals on Wheels before.
I told you, God; I’m good. Look at all I’ve achieved.
You know what you have done there? You have diminished your relationship with the Lord down to a resume.
You have listed your greatest attributes, hoping and praying it is enough. You have a “resume relationship” with God NOT a “real relationship.” (concept from a leader at NorthPoint Community Church).
Over two thousand years ago people were asking the same question we still ask today.
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18-25)
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:3-4)
Looking at the book of Matthew, in Chapter Five, Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount. During this sermon he begins to teach about the Law (or the Scriptures of the Old Testament). In Matthew 5:20 He says, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
See, even the Pharisees were theological conservatives. They believed God. They believed His Word. They wanted to live lives that demonstrated their devotion to God. So they were very careful about their behavior. They went to great extremes to make sure they were not disobeying God’s law. To the people of the day, there was no one more righteous than the Pharisees. But Jesus says, “If you aren’t better than them—the most righteous people you know, then you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Harsh words….because what He is saying is basically NO ONE is good enough. No matter what you do (or don’t do) you aren’t good enough to get into Heaven.
So, where does that leave us?
We need something…..we need righteousness.
To boil it down all righteousness is is to be in right standing with God. But, in order to do that we need Jesus.
Romans 3:20-22 says, “No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law. … But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
When we put our trust in Jesus, He gives us His righteousness. In God’s eyes, He makes us completely righteous.
Earlier in Chapter Three of Romans Paul explains, “What the law was powerless to do …God did by sending his own Son …to be a sin offering …in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us.”
There is evidence of righteous requirements throughout all the Old Testament. Here are just two examples.
Psalm 71:2-“Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.”
Isaiah 42:5-7-“This is what God the LORD says- he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
The Law (Old Testament) has not been abolished (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s still there and it still reveals God’s will. But through Jesus, we have met all its requirements.
So what? Now what?
If we can never be good enough, should we just stop trying?
We are destined to do great things (and be a great people) because of our relationship with Jesus Christ and because of the love the Father has for us.
• We should always strive to do our best because it is good for us. (James 4:17)
• We should strive to do right because we were made for it. Christ died for us, so we could become like Him (Romans 3:22, 24-26).
• When we do right it is a gift to God (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
The Lord has done so much for us; why would we NOT want to do good for Him?
(insert music cue: “You Have Done Great Things for Us” by Matt Redman)
One day we are going to stand before God at a celebration in His honor. By the way we live our lives we are preparing a gift for Him, the one who created us, forgave us, rescued us, cared for us and brought us back to life forever. On that day, the gifts will be opened and the contents revealed. What will you be giving the King at His celebration?
Reflecting upon your relationship with Christ.,…..Is it a “resume relationship” or a “real relationship?”
“Enoughness” isn’t something to “live up to” – it’s something to discover through the process of truthful and compassionate living.