“You’re not good enough.”
This is what Satan has whispered to me throughout my life. Even though I became a Christian at an early age, I still believed that grace wasn’t enough for me. I can still go into what I call “failure" mode - if a few things go wrong, I start to feel like a failure. Each mistake paralyzes me and I begin to think that life is not worth living because I’m not worthy of it.
Then about three years ago, things changed. The Spirit spoke. I couldn’t fall asleep because my mind was stuck in failure mode. I was hearing in one ear, “You’re not good enough” and I sunk into despair. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my other ear saying, “You’re right.” This was not like the first voice. I felt instantly calm, soothed, at peace. This was the voice of the Spirit. He didn’t speak audibly, but directly to my soul. These were the only words He said, but what I heard in that moment was, “You’re right to think you’re not good enough. You don’t have to be. I AM.”
That was absolute freedom for me. I was no longer focused on my self and my failures, but grateful for Jesus caring enough for me not only to take my sins to the cross but to speak to me in my moment of stress. I could finally fall rest and fall asleep because in that moment, I gave all the mess-ups of my day up to Him instead of worrying about how I could make up for them the next day.
The word “enough” denotes measurement. By being “good enough,” I try to live up to some kind of expectation, and when I reach it, then I’ll be “enough." But if Christ has set us free, we are free indeed (Galatians 5:1). We are free to live, not to be slaves to standards. At the end of my day, all I could remember was the dust on the ceiling fan above me begging to be cleaned, paperwork I forgot to fill out again at work, the jacket I left on a park bench somewhere, all the times I failed to pray before interactions with people, the many “I love you’s” left unsaid. I had my failures of commission and omission piled up in my mind and showing up as stress in my shoulders and insomnia in my brain. But when the Spirit spoke, I knew He was in control and I didn’t have to be. I could fall asleep and trust that God’s mercies would be new in the morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Fighting For Freedom Through Faith
In this sermon series, we are talking about fighting for freedom through faith. For me, this fight looks like remembering what God says in the midst of personal failure. I cannot keep fighting for self-approval, others’ approval, or even God’s approval.
Let’s take work for an example. I get up to write at 5:15am, train a few clients, then come home and take care of a two-year-old. If I try and live up to my own standards, I will disappoint others because I have to say no to hanging out past 9pm. If I try and live up to God’s standards, I will disappoint Him because I get angry at myself or others for getting in the way of my pre-set times to work. I will sleep in by accident, my daughter will skip a nap, or somebody will need my help. There are too many competing factors for me to keep up with. And there is freedom in not having to keep up. If I fight for approval, I will lose. Instead, I’ll fight for faith.
I still fall into the trap of performing and feeling good, then failing and despairing. But God says He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), so that means He’s not with me based on what I can do. He’s with me based on what He has done. Even if I mess up a million times, He will still be there.
I Know The Great "I AM"
Fighting for freedom though faith means relying on His power and responding to it in a life of praise, not a jail sentence to performance. If I am here - breathing and writing, I know that God sustains me. If He sustains me, then He must have a purpose for me. I have to remember that He created me because He is “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7a). God is love and just. I was guilty, I did have to pay a price, and I was sentenced to death for my sins. But Jesus stepped in and traded places with me. He died, so that I may live. He lives, so I may be free. Thanks be to God!
Today, fighting for freedom through faith for me means focusing on the Lord’s kind rule instead of the cold cruelty of conditional love and impossible standards. It means remembering that Jesus is worthy, that Jesus paid the price, that Jesus is reigning, that Jesus will come again.
Jesus refers to Himself as “I AM” (John 8:58). Living in freedom means knowing that when the enemy says to me, “You’re not good enough,” I can respond with, “I know I AM, and I am His.”
What has Christ set you free from?
How are you living in that freedom today?
What are the ways you fight for freedom through faith?