Friday, June 26, 2009

When Your Best Just Isn't Good Enough

There have been many things I’ve attempted to do in my life and come away from those attempts feeling as though I’m a complete failure. I’m sure most people have felt this way one time or another. It’s a frustrating thing whenever you try your best at something, and no matter how hard you try, you’re never quite good enough. You either have certain failures or setbacks, or someone else is always able to do the same thing better somehow. If you let it, these feelings can literally destroy your self-esteem and any feelings of self-worth or value.

I’m glad that with God our best is always good enough. That’s all he asks of us, is to give our very best, to do our very best, to try our very best. I’ll admit there have been times when I have felt like a complete failure as a Christian. I’ve done a lot of things no Christian should ever do. I haven’t always followed God’s leading, or cared as much for my fellow man as I should have, or abstained from certain sins, or a whole host of other things. I haven’t always given my best to God. But it is a comfort that my best is all he asks for. That’s all he wants: my very best, the best I can do. And so long as I’m doing that, I am good enough.

(I want to add that this note is for those in Christ. I do not mean to imply that all God ever wants from anyone is a best attempt at being good. Of course He expects that, but He also expects you to follow His son, Jesus, accepting Him as Lord and Savior of your life, and allowing Him to influence and change your life for the better. It is along that path, which I believe doing your best is good enough.)

9 comments:

RikFleming said...

Bro,

I appreciate what your are trying to say here and encourage people not to allow errors or failures to keep them from progressing.

But... I don't know of any place in the Bible where it states "All I expect is for you just to do your best."

Actually, what He requires is perfect holiness.

But we ain't got it in us.

So, the Father sent His Son to die for us. Jesus said:

“’Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’
Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’” (John 6:27-29)

What God requires and has always required is that we have faith in Him and His Word.

Then in walk in faith, trust and obey. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

What God expects and anticipates from us is that we will first be children that poop in our diapers and need the milk of the Word.

Then He expects that we will grow up, stop pooping in our pants and grow to eat solid meat. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

But so many Christians are content to remain immature babes and they expect to become healthy Christians while continuing to eat malnourishing food, or what Jesus calls, "the food which perishes."

If we spent half as much time in the Word in faith as we do watching television and going to the movies we’d have a stronger faith and a more vigorous walk.

If we spent half as much time in prayer in faith as we do playing video games we might actually be a serious threat to the kingdom of darkness.

Yet, so many of us are concerned more with the death of Michael Jackson (or the life some other entertainer) than the atoning death and risen life of Jesus Christ.

Your best isn't good enough.

But the solution isn't to "try harder" but rather to "believe more." Then out of faith we will "do better."

Paul tells Israel was sent into exile because they didn't combine the promises of God with faith.

The result of that was God was not pleased with them and they are to be our example of what NOT to do. (1 Corinthians 10:1-5)

Their lack of faith is why God killed them in the desert. It is also what lead them into spiritual adultery with the pagan gods of the surrounding nations for which they were judged and sent into the captivity of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and then the Romans and then finally their destrucition in 70 A.D..

It is also the reason why Jesus was judging many of the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. Because they were repeating the EXACT same sins as their Old Testament forefathers.

So, when you lack faith and struggle with your faith and obedience. Ask Jesus, "Lord, I believe. Increase my faith." (Mark 9:24)

Brandon said...

Rik, I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure you fully understood me.

I believe God accepts every individual who comes to him exactly where they are in life. Of course you're not supposed to just stay where you're at, but to evolve into a better person, a better Christian, to live your life more as God wants you to. But it's a process. You can't tell me a person just becoming a Christian is expected to be perfect before God. It's a rare thing, and I think that's what Paul was talking about when he said we start with baby food and work our way up to more solids. It takes time. And I believe, in this process, doing your best is indeed good enough.

Why do you think God sent Jesus in the first place? It was because we couldn't be good enough on our own. We need Jesus to help us along the way. I hope anyone else reading this post will realize that was an unsaid given here. This note was for Christians. A lot of sins a person commits are unintentional. It happens everyday, even by Christians who have served the Lord all their lives. None of us can ever be perfect individuals. But we should always TRY to be. As I said, all we can give is our best. And giving our best may mean that we're going to have to nearly kill ourselves in order to give it, but so long as that's what we're doing, surely it has to be good enough. If it's not, then we're all screwed. End of subject.

Brandon said...

Let me try to be more clear. Yes, without Christ, our best isn't good enough. But that's not exactly what I was talking about here.

Sweeney said...

I know exactly what you are talking about. But what really gets me down is when I don't try my hardest on something, and then I feel like a failure. Being a Christian is not about being perfect,because that is never going to happen
(in this world). Its about following God and trying to grow closer to him. We all fall and fail, the problem is when we keep falling over and over with the same sin.

Brandon said...

Exactly.

Tit for Tat said...

Brandon

Your idea on G-d is that he only accepts your best.......If you do what he says and if you dont, bye bye, you go to Hell. Damn, now thats pretty Loving.

Brandon said...

Tit for Tat,

If you don't give a darn for God, do you think He's really going to for you? It works both ways. Of course God loves everyone, but if we aren't willing to meet him at least half way, to trust and obey Him in all things, then why should He favor us? You can't just ignore God and think everything's going to be okay in the end. He's told us how He expects us to live, and has told us the consequences of not doing that. It's only the individuals fault if they wind up in hell--not God's. Furthermore, just look at the story of Cain and Abel if you don't believe God only accepts a person's best. God loves each of us, but He expects us to love Him in return.

RikFleming said...

A five year old boy comes home with a finger painting and says, "See daddy, made this for you!"

The dad takes a look at it, turns it side ways and silently takes a guess that it is supposed to be a picture of a horse.

The young boy says, "Its an elephant daddy, like the one we saw at the zoo."

The dad says, "Wow, that is great son. I am proud of you!" and then hangs it on the refrigerator door.

The truth is the painting looks like crap, but it was made by his son and the boy did his best in love.

THAT is why the father loves the painting and is proud of his son. Not because the painting is any good, but because of who made it and the love that is expressed through it.

That is about what all our good works amount to - crap that the father loves because of who are in Christ, and the love and faith that are expressed through it.

Brandon said...

Beautifully said, Rik.