“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV
Are we good enough? Sitting with my son as he ate breakfast this morning, I thought my son was cranky. I’m talking about an elite ability to mess with people. I believe he has turned it into some Olympic sport. Most 15-year-old young men are close to certifiably insane anyway.
I was sitting there thinking that I love him more than I can express despite the times when he can frustrate the daylights out of me. He cannot possibly do anything that would ever change that. This love would somewhat correspond to how God feels about me. He gives grace freely, and I need it.
I compared this picture in my mind to the spiritual battle that seems to be the most prevalent in me “Just not good enough boy.” I hear it in my head. It can come when I think I might be letting someone down, myself, and God down.
I have come to find three sources of this mental statement: Me, God, or Satan. Let me explain. Using the analogy of a grade in school, if I am doing “C” work, but I can do better, it is okay to tell myself, “Not good enough.” If I want to be more patient with my son, but I am continually impatient with him – “Just not good enough.” In this type of situation, it is okay to recognize that my effort can be better.
However, when the voice comes from Satan, it is a condemning statement that is not meant to make me work at accomplishing anything. It is solely intended to destroy. In this case, I might hear, “You’re a terrible parent, just not good enough boy.”
My friend Patrick and I use the analogy of having a button in the back of your head. This button would be the one Satan pushes to mess up any day.
I also believe that God can say “Not good enough,” as well. Hear me say this – I am not confused; grace is free and the only way to gain access to Heaven. We cannot get there through the works. It is by grace alone. However, if I have prayerfully considered my life and am trying to walk the path God has laid out for me, He may have to tell me occasionally.
When God told Noah to build the ark, the work had to start at some point. Noah knew the job at hand. If he was sitting around watching sheep instead of building, he might have needed a nudge from God. In this case, I might hear, “You want to be patient, but that wasn’t. I can help you if you let me”.
The trick in all of this is figuring out the source of the voice. Condemning myself may come easily, but it does not glorify God. Humble does not mean I think about myself negatively. He may give me a conviction that I can do something different. But that is always a call toward Him – always. If the voice comes from Satan, it is wholly condemning and leading me away from God towards isolation. Command Satan to flee in this case. Always move toward God.
Author: Rick Claiborn