The Lie of Being Good Enough

Beth Demme Blog Leave a Comment

I want to tell you something that might be hard to hear. I’ll try to say it in the nicest way possible. Please know, I say it with the best of intentions.

Here it is.

Are you ready?

You are not perfect.

God does not expect you to be perfect.

You might think being “barely good enough” is the same thing as settling for less, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s actually the best you can hope for.

And in this truth is your freedom.

When I realized that my relationship with God did not depend on my own performance, I found I was free to experience true relationship with The One who loves me.

The crazy, mind-blowing truth that opened my heart and my mind to God is that I don’t have to be good enough for God.

People want you to be good enough, but God says you already are.

People want you to live up to your potential (which really means living up to their standards), but God says you are the very embodiment of your potential.

How do I know? Because the Bible tells me so.

There are a lot of biblical examples, but two biggies in the New Testament are Paul and Peter.

God called them into service and gave them a vocation, knowing they weren’t good enough.

In Acts, a man named Saul was the chief persecutor of Christians. He was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of Jesus” (Acts 9:1). He came up with a plan to move from town to town, rooting out followers of Jesus to be rounded up, bound, and brought back to Jerusalem (Acts 9:2).

Do you know how God responded to this murderer? God said, “now there’s a fella I can use.” As Saul was making his way to Damascus, God—in a flash of light—said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). Saul realized in a flash that he was not living up to his potential. God told him to go to a nearby house and wait for further instructions (Acts 9:6).

In many Bibles (and Bible apps and Bible websites), this event is called “The Conversion of Saul.” I don’t think that’s quite right. I think it’s more accurate to say this is “The Calling of Saul.” Saul waited for 3 days for further instructions (Acts 9:9). God used that time to convince a disciple named Ananias to visit Saul and “lay hands on him that he might regain his sight” (Acts 9:12).

Ananias tried to convince God that Saul wasn’t good enough.

Ananias wasn’t sure that God would, or could, call a man like Saul to be a pastor-type (Acts 9:13-14).

After Ananias filled God in on all the evil Saul had perpetrated (as if God didn’t already know), God said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “yep, I know. He’s the one I want” (Acts 9:15).

If you’ve ever read the New Testament, you can pretty much thank Saul—who became Paul. He went from being the chief persecutor of Christians to being the chief missionary spreading what he knew—the good news of Jesus Christ.

Do you see? God didn’t wait for Saul to seek out self-improvement to interact with him and transform him. God rejected the idea that Saul was too __________ (evil, mean, self-centered, aggressive, misguided), to be called to serve.

God knew Saul wasn’t good enough, but that didn’t matter to God.

The same is true for me and you. We don’t have to be good enough for God. God will love us, and call us, in spite of our imperfections.

If you aren’t persuaded by the example of Saul-Paul, there are plenty of other examples. How about Peter. You know, “Saint Peter.” The one who is featured in pretty much every joke about heaven?

After Jesus was arrested, Peter did nothing to try to help. In fact, three times that night he denied even knowing Jesus (John 18:15-27).

That didn’t stop God from loving and calling Peter. The resurrected Jesus appeared to Peter and gave him a vocation, telling him to care for people like a shepherd cares for lambs (John 21:1-19). Just like Saul was transformed from the chief-persecutor into missionary-extraordinaire, Peter was transformed from the chief denier and deserter into Saint Peter. He became a leader who would help found the church that has enabled billions of people to experience God’s love.

The next time you wonder if you’re good enough for God, think about Peter and Paul. Don’t remember them only at their best; think about them at their worst. Remember Paul was a vile murderer and Peter denied even knowing The One who loved him. God didn’t reject them for not being good enough and God doesn’t reject you either.

Has anyone ever made you feel like God would reject you if you weren’t good enough? Do you ever wonder if God can really love someone like you? Tell me about in the comments, in an email, or on Facebook.

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