Saturday, October 4, 2014

"I'm Not...Enough": The Lament of the Hopeless

Have you ever found yourself saying the words "I'm not _________ Enough"? Fill in that blank however you have used it. It's usually not at the moment that you feel the greatest confidence in your ability to complete the task, fill the position or fulfill the responsibility in question. It's usually at a low point in your day or in your life or at a point of complete desperation. It's not a phrase you feel good about yourself. 

Some people remain in a constant state of feeling this way about themselves. It is often because they have not had people around them in their lives to give them positive affirmation. On the contrary they have usually been surrounded by people with very negative attitudes and such a low view of themselves that they feel the need to bring others around them to their level. 

Some common words we tend to use when we feel like this are: "I'm not strong, smart or good enough."The culture of our current day says that people with this view of themselves will not succeed. This culture says that you must exude self-confidence in order to succeed. You won't get the promotion,  recognition or notoriety that you deserve unless you fit this pattern.

However, did you know that the Bible says that this is the perfect attitude to have to succeed in God's Kingdom. Now, let me pause a moment to say that this DOES NOT mean that we are to abase ourselves and walk around defeated. If we come to God with this attitude, we should actually gain confidence and be full of joy and know that we have won.  

Why? Because for the believer, when we empty ourselves of all that we are and can be in our culture and surrender to God, then He lives in us and empowers us and supplies all we need to succeed in His plan.  Let's look at these three words above and see what the scriptures have to say about them.

  1. “I’m not strong enough”
    9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2Corinthians 12:9-10)
     When we give up our struggle to live for ourselves or even to sustain ourselves and trust God’s strength, then we will see great things take place.  This doesn’t mean we just concede that it is hopeless and we stop trying, this means we stop fretting over the things that we cannot control or the things that are too much for us and we rest in the hope and promises that we find in God’s word. 

  2.  “I’m not smart enough”
    18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS "; 20 and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS." (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)
    The ways of God are contrary to the ways of the world. The Bible says that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians4:4) and therefore he will do all he can to get people to walk in opposition to God, the Father. The world’s wisdom is foolishness compared to the greatness of God’s wisdom. Even God’s most “simple” thought is greater than man’s greatest thought. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
     5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)
    Where we fall short, we just need to ask and God will supply. We must stop stressing ourselves beyond our limits trying to figure it all out and let God reveal it to us in His perfect time (Psalm46:10). 

  3.  "I’m not good enough.”

    Luke 18:19 says, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’” and Psalm 53:3 says, “Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.” Sounds pretty hopeless doesn’t it?

    The bad news is that we cannot be good enough to get to God (or heaven). When we sinned (broke God’s law) the first time, we were guilty and unworthy because God is absolutely perfect and holy. His perfection is beyond our understanding.

    However, there is good news:

    “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

    “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

    “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans10:9-10)


    I think this says it all. We are not enough. God is our supply and He has taken the entire cost for our sin upon Himself. He delights to see us come to Him to be saved from His wrath. He delights to provide whatever need we have. Does this mean we will get whatever we ask for? No, but we have to trust that He only has good plans for us, and sometimes the circumstances we are in will do much more to exalt His name than we will ever understand.
    Jeremiah 29:11 assures us, “'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
    Romans 8:28 echos this same thought when it says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
    Here are two things we need to know:

    1.       We don’t have everything under control, but God does and will provide 
    for all we need and for every circumstance we face.

    2.       God’s love outweighs our sin and His wrath, but you have to give Him 
      permission to add His love to the scales which weigh justice for you.

    Don’t beat yourself up and don’t live a defeated life, rather live in God’s strength, wisdom and goodness and know that He has provided victory that will last long after this world and its self-seeking culture is gone.  If you have not already surrendered your life to Him, what prevents you from doing so now. Just talk to Him and ask. He will hear you. If you have already surrendered your life to Him, you need to invite as many as possible so they can join us on this journey!

    For God’s Glory,

    Chris S. Sweet


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