[ please go back and read the previous three posts for parts one, two, and three ]
The third death I would suggest that may need to precede the resurrection power coming on display in our lives and our eyes seeing the glory of our Lord is this – THE DEATH OF “GOOD ENOUGH.”
There are three common mis-conceptions in American church culture that I would suggest are tombs, if you will, holding the stinch of “I am good enough” and “I am better than you” thinking.
The first is the lie of “self-esteem.” It is a lie that American culture has taught us through our educational norms. It is a fundamental element of the “American Dream.” But it is antithetical to the Gospel. I have nothing of myself worth esteeming. If I focus my eyes on the measuring stick of “who I am,” then I will never become more than who I am and can make myself to be. If I, however, focus my eyes on the measuring stick of “Whose I am,” then I can be made to be all that I was intended to be by the One who makes me who I am in Him. I am His. My worth comes from no other source. My identity must only be tied to Him. Not my performance, but His performance. Not my accomplishment, but His.
Self-esteem is a tomb from which God-esteem must be raised, or else the stinch of “good enough” will remain.
The second misconception is that thinking that declares that people are not ready to go and make disciples and are not ready to see His glory until they cross a “readiness line.” It is this make-believe place we have conjured up that fits man-made religiosity but does not fit at all in Christ-Centered relationship. Jesus called the disciples and sent them and then coached them as He did life with them. Jesus healed the demoniac and then sent him back home to his family to tell them the story of the new life He’d been given. Jesus made the woman at the well secure in His love rather than insecure in her co-dependence on her alleged lovers and then sent her back into town to tell the story of the One who told her who she really was. Being a “disciple” is not defined by what I have learned, but rather by being a learner. Living FOR God is not His intent. Living WITH Him is. Being good for Him is not good enough. Going with Him, however, I get to live on mission as I learn and live His ways. He makes me ready more and more, day after day.
The “readiness line” mentality is a tomb from which relationally learning must be raised, or else the stinch of “good enough” will remain.
The third misconception that needs to be surrendered is that misconception that one person is a “strong Christian” while another is not. Being a “strong Christian” is antithetical to the Gospel. It pretends that grace does the saving but I myself do the growing. It proclaims that someone is better at this Jesus stuff than someone else. And Paul debunks this thinking when He declares in so many of His letters that the cross has placed us on level ground with no “better than you” distinction.
The thinking that someone is better at following Jesus or more spiritual than someone else is a tomb from which “saved AND sanctified by grace alone” must be raised, or else the stinch of “good enough” will remain.
“Good enough” is not good enough. Justifying by comparison is declared as not what God desires by Jesus Himself (Luke 18). Jesus not only did not wait for us to say we were sorry for our sins to come and die for our sins, He also did not wait for us to better ourselves. And He did not ask us to follow Him so that we could impress Him along the way. The Gospel makes it very clear. God came near in Christ loving us while we were still sinners, and the good news is that He wants to display His glory and resurrection in our lives as we walk near with the One who came near to us, as we love the One who loved us first.
Could it be the case that our own quest to be good is what is misdirecting us down a path where we will not see His glory? Could it be that you are not in the game of making disciples because you don’t think you are good enough to do so?
Do you believe that so loved the world that He gave His only Son?
Then keep believing it. And believe in His goodness. And believe you are now in Christ and even on your worst day, as John Lynch has said, you are still YOU IN CHRIST. He is making You who He wants you to be. He has declared you worth dying for. He is inviting you on mission WITH Him.
Go. Get in the game.