if you’ve been reading this for a little bit of time, you know that i’ve been helping lead a small group this semester that is all freshman guys. we wanted to start off their high school career with the basics. instead of going all topical or trying to be as relevant as possible (which is totally my style), we decided to give them the nuts and bolts of this whole christianity thing. we wanted to let them know what this entire thing was based on.
we started off in september by studying the law. we went completely old testament on them and showed them how god promised the people that if they could follow this certain set of rules then they would be blessed. our guys were completely blown away by some of the rules and admitted that there was no way any of them could ever follow the law like they were required in the old testament.
after showing them that the people in ancient times were the exact same as them in terms of following the law, we introduced them to the prophets and how they talked about the need for a messiah and how a messiah was on his way. when we finished those guys up, we moved onto jesus.
when we got to jesus, we introduced him in a way that’s different than our guys had ever seen. we looked at him through the eyes of a jew in that time period. we showed how absolutely radical that jesus’ life was and how the things he taught made the law even harder.
if you even have hate in your heart towards someone that’s murder.
if you even look at a girl with lust that’s adultery (or in their case, premarital sex).
if you even pass by the beggar on the corner you turn your back on jesus.
there’s no way that we can follow this law. our students started to realize more and more why jesus came and how he is the only way that we can even have hope of being “good enough” to get into heaven.
i’m reading a book right now called “plan b” by pete wilson. it’s an awesome book and i’d definitely recommend it if you get the chance to read it. in it, he writes this:
the culture we live in today sets up so many expectations for what success looks like. our christian communities institute standards no human being could live up to consistently. so what do we do?
all too often we hide.
we pretend to be something we’re not.
we immerse ourselves in a false reality.
we may “fake it until we make it” – pretending to be a winner even though we suspect we’re not. we may cover up our hurt and pain by escaping into addictive behavior. or we may just get in the habit of not letting anyone – including ourselves – know who we really are or what we’re really struggling with.
i pull out this passage because it’s true. there are a lot of times when the church, or even our culture in general, put so many expectations on us that we can’t help but fail. nothing we know is good enough. we feel like we’re not good enough for this job. we feel like we’re not good enough for that person. or maybe we even feel like we’re not good enough for god to love us.
here’s the kicker: we might be right.
none of us are good enough. none of us could measure up on our own. we aren’t good enough on our own to beat that addiction. we’re not good enough on our own to lay down our pride for that person. we’re not good enough on our own to be effective at that job.
you see, the way god planned this entire thing was to show us that we needed something. it was to show us that we couldn’t do it on our own. if we could do all of those things by ourselves then what would be the point of a savior? to go a step further, if we could do all of those things on our own, what would be the point of a god?
in an interview within the last week or two, tiger woods said this:
life – well, we’re inherently flawed. we’re all human. so you’re never ever going to attain perfection. … so how can there be perfection? i’m always trying to get better. that’s always been my goal. there’s always things you need to improve.
the guy who cheated on his wife dozens of times, is a buddhist, and may be the greatest golfer to ever live realizes that we can never reach perfection. he says that while we may know we can’t reach it, we should still strive to get better and should still strive for it.
the crazy thing is that’s exactly what paul says in the new testament. he says over and over that he’s a screw up but that it’s through jesus that he can seek that perfection.
on his own, he’s nothing.
on his own, he does nothing but fail.
on his own, he’s not good enough.
knowing all of that, and knowing that there’s nothing he can do, he says that the only way we can even begin to “do better” or “be better” is through jesus and with his help.
nothing we do on our own will ever be good enough. that’s just the truth. the only way we’re good enough for that job, for that person, or for that situation is through our faith in jesus and with his help.
okay jonathan, we get it. what’s the point?
my point of this whole thing is to hopefully get you to a) admit that you don’t have it all together and b) accept that you don’t have to have it all together. accept who you are. accept the problems that you have. don’t hide them inside of all of this other junk or drown them in some sort of addiction. it’s not worth it.
i full admit that i’m a screw up. i don’t have it all together. yesterday i hosted our video venue serves and practiced giving the announcements in my head over and over because i didn’t think i was good enough to not screw up something as simple as that. anytime that i speak in front of our students i doubt that i’m clever enough, smart enough, or interesting enough. i never think that i’m good enough to do the things that i’m being asked to do.
but i don’t have to be.
i don’t have to be good enough on my own. god created me a certain way and to do a certain thing and he wants to help me do that and reach that potential. he knows i’m messed up and need help so why should i even begin to hide it and act like that’s not the case?
you don’t have it all together and that’s perfectly okay. i dare you to admit that to yourself and ask god to help you through all of your imperfections throughout the next month. the reason we celebrate this whole christmas season is because jesus came to help us out even in our mess ups and brokenness.
instead of just singing christmas carols and eating peppermints, try asking him to do what he came for.
you’ll be amazed at the results.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.