Every day many of us wake up with that niggling feeling that we are really not good enough or don’t measure up to OTHERS standards for us. Sometimes we don’t measure up to our OWN standards. It follows us through our day and makes us think we must try harder or look for something else or something more to change this status. If that isn’t enough, this stream of thought runs over into what we think of ourselves in relation to GOD.
The lie of us having to be better is weaved into the truth that we are not good enough before God. WE AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH. We CANNOT earn our way into His grace or favor. This is a hard truth. Our response to it is what either damages our faith or builds up our awareness of how thankful we are for being forgiven and having been shown His good favor in Christ.
In what area has this lie/truth pattern shown up in my life?
1. A feeling of guilt for not producing more fruit with my life. This causes me to be defensive when others ask me what I have been up to and I begin to list off my activities, hoping it sounds impressive enough to let me off the hook.
2. Comparing myself to others in their accomplishments. This creates jealousy and scurrying to do what they are doing, because it is obviously working for them.
3. Feeling isolated when a large crowd of people I know is talking and having fun, and when I walk up to see what’s going on, they get quiet or don’t even notice I have arrived. This causes me to try to be funnier or relevant to the group so I will be seen as having value in the collective.
4. Thinking that because I process information slower that I am somehow defective and need to read more or plan more. This causes me to strive harder to improve.
5. Walking through a day and letting discouragement about all of the above make me think that God must not be very impressed with my life or offerings or use of my talents. This creates a desire to strive and try harder, trying to turn God’s head-shaking frown to an open-armed embrace and smile of approval.
The truth of the Word for each of these is found in the Gospel of Christ and knowing who we are in Him. This is found in His Word.
John 15 tells me that Jesus is the Vine that I am attached to through the work of the cross and faith, with the Father feeding and pruning me to bear fruit, and even more fruit. I cannot bear more fruit without this connection. It will never come from me pushing real hard to pop out more fruit. God forms it in me as I stay attached to the Vine, which is Christ. Nowhere in this passage does it say that we are to compare the fruit formed through us to any other branch. That is the business of the Gardener and the Vine. The fruit formed on my branch is from Him and unique to my branch. It is fruit to show forth His glory, not for me to point to and brag or get my worth from.
John 3:16 tells me that God s0 loved the world that He gave His only Son that those whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. He loves me and gave His only Son for me that I might have eternal life. I do not need value in any collective. I have value to the One who is the Head of the Church. I am called to love others out of that so that I do not interact in a way that draws attention to myself, but builds up others and grows them into the Head. (Ephesians 4)
Psalm 139 tells me He knit me together in my mother’s womb. So who I am, how I process information, the color of my hair and eyes and skin, were all perfectly crafted to bring Him glory. He does not make mistakes. When I question how He made me I am saying He is a faulty God. He is not. He is perfect.
In John 9:1-5, Jesus said the blind man was born blind that the works of God might be displayed in him. Then He healed him. Sin has consequences, but not every imperfection is because some individuals are less worthy to exist than another due to some some sin in their lives.
We are who He made us to be, how He intended for us to live, equipped with exactly what will bring Him the most glory and us the most good. My fruit bearing, value, worth, characteristics of mind and body, are all of Him, for Him, and to Him. (Colossians 1:16)
Lastly, God never looks at me and shakes His head in disapproval. He already poured out His just punishment on Jesus at the Cross as payment for every sin I have committed or will commit. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He is for me, not against me. His desire is to form the image of Christ in me. (Hebrews 12:5-11) He might be saddened by my scurrying to other things for happiness or approval, but His ultimate heart for me is my good and the salvation of the world through the fruit He enables me to bear while He transforms me.
It is all about relationship, not earning my place. God’s Word is His love story to His children- all beloved, forgiven, being used in their own unique ways to bear fruit and bring others to the Lord through the working of the Spirit.
In light of what I have shared here, my desire -like Paul’s to the Colossians – is that, “… God would give you complete knowledge of his will and give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)
- What did you learn from the Word that you had never known and/or thought about in this light before?
- Who could you share it with to encourage them?
- When will you share it with them?
- How can I, Coach Kristin, be praying for you on this journey of overcoming lies by replacing them with God’s Truth? I would love to be that encouragement to you!