From little on, we are measured by our performance. The piano instructor encourages more practice to improve our technique. The coach gives tips to develop our athletic skills further. The teacher at school corrects papers and provides grades showing areas where we’ve fallen short.
As adults, we face responsibilities at work, home, and church. We devise long to-do lists and measure ourselves based on how many activities we’ve checked off. Yet, despite our best efforts, there is always more to be done.
People inevitably reflect and wonder where they stand with God. What grade would he give you? Have you done enough?
Is My Best Enough to Reach Heaven?
While people try harder to improve themselves or gain the favor of others, this is an incredibly dangerous mindset to apply to God. For some, it can develop into toxic perfectionism. Here, the individual makes it their goal to try to meet impossible expectations. This tragically leads to feelings of inadequacy, exhaustion, and depression.
To avert these outcomes, some downplay God’s expectations. They say, “Just try your best,” or “God doesn’t demand perfection yet.” These statements only make matters worse. “Trying your best” always leaves room for improvement, and anything less, frankly, isn’t your best. Insisting we can achieve perfection later just kicks the can down the road. These attempts to comfort the conscience are empty because the pressure is still on you.
The root of the problem is thinking you can ever do enough.
To truly gain God’s favor, you could never break his commandments, not even once (James 2:10). But we know that’s not the case “for all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). We would have to “be perfect” (Matthew 5:48) right now. We’ve all fallen short of that expectation: “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). It’s already a bust.
Thinking we could ever be good enough for God puts us on a path that will ultimately lead to despair. Our best isn’t good enough. We can’t do anything to gain God’s favor. When we humbly accept this truth, we have no choice but to fall on God’s mercy. There, in Jesus, we find all we’ve been looking for.
Jesus Is Enough
Jesus is the only one who obeyed the commandments. He never sinned. As a result, he received Heavenly Father’s favor: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5). Jesus isn’t just good enough. He’s perfect.
God knew we couldn’t keep his commandments. But, as a holy God, he could never lower his expectations. So, he sent a substitute who could keep them for us. Jesus didn’t come to show us how to do it ourselves. Instead, he came to live perfectly in our place.
“God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through faith in Jesus, his perfect record, his righteousness, is credited to you. But that’s not all. The favor with God Jesus enjoyed as “well pleased” is now also yours. There is no better grade with God!
Some, still clinging to pride, insist on mixing their efforts with Jesus. If you take the 100% perfect score of Jesus and combine it with our imperfect efforts, you’ll never reach the perfection required. Resist that temptation! You already have all you need. Jesus is enough.
Is my best enough? Not even close. Nor will it ever be.
Thankfully, this doesn’t leave us without hope. Those who are in Christ aren’t measured by their performance. They are not stressed by a need to practice perfection. They already have it. Trusting in Jesus alone, you know how your story ends. You can rest secure knowing where you stand with God. Standing on Jesus’ record, you already have an A+ because Jesus is enough.
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Additional Questions You Might Have
Can you have faith without works?
Admittedly, the thought that Christ did everything to make us acceptable to God and we don’t do anything violently clashes with what we naturally think.
Is it OK to Ask Questions About God?
People, during the course of their lives, will struggle with different doubts. What is most important is what you do with them.