Monday, June 25, 2012

Never Good Enough

Have you ever felt like no matter how hard you try, your "good" is just never good enough? No matter how high you jump, it’s not high enough? Or no matter how much you study, you just aren’t smart enough? Maybe it’s no matter how perfect your make-up is, you still don’t feel pretty enough? If you are honest, you have been here at some point in life. These feelings of unworthiness invade the mind of just about everyone—even Believers. It’s important that as Believers we deal with these emotions in a healthy manner so we aren’t journeying through life carrying extra baggage. Personally, I know from experience that carrying around extra baggage only leads to passive aggression, bitterness, and resentment. We have to set down the “not good enough” suitcases that weigh us down while walking with Christ.

Now, there is no formula to this, no three step program or process. It is simple—don’t put your worth in people. We sometimes unknowingly do this. Putting our worth in other people can look like this:
  • You study your butt off to get a perfect score on the SATs just to get a “great job” and a high five from your dad. But unfortunately you don’t get the score you wanted to impress your father. You don't feel good enough. Your world is crashing.
  • Your girlfriend or boyfriend decides that you two should “take a break”. He/she has found someone else. Now, there’s no one around that makes you “feel special” anymore. You don't feel good enough. Your world is coming down on you.
  • Instead of passing the ball to someone that you know is open, you decide to take the winning shot. You think, “I’ll be the hero of the team”. You shoot but miss the shot. The team loses the game. You don't feel good enough. Your world is over.

Beloved, putting our worth in people will get us nowhere in our walk with Christ. We will stay right where we are, dissatisfied with our lack of growth. Sometimes, we TRY so hard to please others that when we find ourselves imperfect, passive aggression sets in. We become angry at the world, ourselves, and extremely passive toward God for not being perfect. Young girl reading this, you are beautiful because you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) not just because some guy told you. Young man, you are more than the athletic ability you have; you were called by His name out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). When our worth is in the wrong place, we are always left not feeling good enough. However, when our worth is in Christ, no matter how big the imperfections are, grace always covers. This is the ONLY way we will ever be good enough. 

Not long ago, I found that no matter how hard I TRIED, I was never good enough for anyone—including God. So when I would fall short, accepting His grace was VERY difficult. I would feel similar to how Adam and Eve felt when they fell. I would try to cover up my shame by putting my worth in everything else but God, instead of just allowing the Lord to clothe me in grace (Genesis 3:7, 21). At the time, I didn’t realize that God wasn’t like man. I didn’t have to show Him my works to be good enough. I didn’t have to be the smartest, jump the highest, or be America’s next top model to receive His perfect love. I didn’t have to TRY to be good enough for Him; I just needed to be myself. When I began to put my worth in the Lord I began to fully walk in the pathway He planned for me, while He covered my footprints in grace.

The fact of the matter is that you will never be good enough for people. You will always slip and fall. You will always be too much of “this” and not enough of “that.” Since no one is perfect, our “good” will never be “good enough” for one another. So stop trying. Through Christ we don’t have to worry about being good enough. His grace already proves our worthiness (Romans 5:20). That is the beauty of our Savior, Believer. Today, examine your heart, who are you putting your worth in? Whose approval are you seeking other than the Lord’s? Whose applause are you so desperate for? See, to our Father, man-made last place is really first place in His eyes (Matthew 20:16). He looks at your heart, not your works (1 Samuel 16:7). So yes, you’re right; you will NEVER be good enough for anyone on this planet because we are not perfect. As man measures your works, God is looking deep into your heart. Exchange those “not good enough” suitcases in your heart today and allow Him to clothe you with grace.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Love That Lasts

We’ve all seen, or at least have heard about the show American Idol. Each season you see hundreds audition to become America’s next big star. Some have talent, while others aren’t so gifted. Sometimes, contestants travel miles for an audition. Others leave everything they have to show America what they’ve got. Although many come from different parts of the country with different backgrounds, cultures, and styles of music, one thing remains the same—the idea of becoming an idol. But what exactly is an idol? And why is everyone dying to become Americas’ idol? Let’s dig deep into what an idol actually is and how it can cripple a Believer’s relationship with the Lord.

  1. An image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. 
  2. A person or thing that is greatly admired, loved, or revered.

I Don’t Often Last
Google’s first definition gets right to the point. An idol is used for worship. It is created to BE worshipped. One of my definitions of an idol is, “I don’t often last.” So we look at these contestants and follow the ones we like, not realizing what kind of pressure we are putting on them. In Hollywood, one minute you’re in, the next you’re out. Take Britney Spears for example. You’re on top of the world, you’re America’s sweetheart one moment, and then you become the butt of all the jokes the next. Anything worshipped outside of God will never last. 

I Don’t Offer Love
Love seems to be the theme of Google’s second definition. Any idol must be loved. Many of the contestants aren’t always searching for a big break. Instead, their souls long for love. They think being the next big superstar will give them the love they desire. Indeed, they will get love for a couple of hours at a concert, as fans lift their hands and scream every word to their songs. But when the shows over, the temporary love they felt will fade. So in actuality, they never receive the love they want. “I don’t offer love” is another one of my definitions of an idol. Idols seek love, but never receive the love they need. Nor do they offer love to the ones idolizing them. 

Maybe you don’t desire to be America’s idol.  You say, “I don’t even watch that show, this post has nothing to do with me.” However, you don’t have to watch the show to have an idol in your heart. In the Word, idols were usually graven images that pagans would worship, instead of God. But idols aren’t only statues. They are people, places, and things that we put before God. An idol can be a guy or girl, a job, a phone, bills, social networks etc... Even idols such as fear, doubt, attention seeking, worry and anxiety can all hide in your heart as well. If you think about “it” more than God, “it” is an idol. 

“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”  - 1 Corinthians 10:14

Idols hinder us from giving our full attention and affection to the Creator of the Universe. We spend so much time mediating on these idols that we put Christ last in our hearts. Instead of making Him our priority, He becomes merely an option. And distrusting God is when our idols arise in us the most. We say with our hearts, "God, I don't believe you will provide for me. So I'm going to worship 'worry' more than You." Or we put all of our love in daydreaming about some celebrity because we don't trust that God has a husband or wife for us. But honestly, when was the last time Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber told you they loved you and really meant it? They probably never will. When was the last time your cell phone showed you more love than Christ? Yes, it is awesome that we have the technology now to share the Gospel through social networking. But are you spending more time tweeting and instagraming than you are with the Lord? Ultimately, the idols we worship in our thoughts and actions will never offer us a love that will last. 

Today, what thoughts consume your mind the most? Are your thoughts aligned with Jesus? When these idols emerge, your heart is simply screaming, “I need a love that will last!” Immediately go into worship when they arise, “Lord, I love You! You are amazing to me! You are all I need!” Get your focus back on your one and only God. He will completely satisfy your soul. Really examine your heart today. I definitely had to before writing this post. I realized my biggest idol was doubt. The more I worshipped doubt, the less I began to worship and trust Him. Daily, ask yourself questions like, “What am I thinking about so much that I can’t press into God’s voice? Am I worshipping other things or people more than my Savior today?” Burn the graven images in your heart today. Idols need love, whereas God just wants your love. Those idols are temporary, but God’s love is eternal. Let Him offer you a love that lasts.