According to the Weight Watchers I’m not skinny enough. According to the McDonald’s I’m not eating enough. According to the fashion industry I’m not buying enough. According to the hair salon I’m not dying my hair enough. According to Pinterest I’m not crafty enough. According to the mom blogs I’m not doing enough with my kids. According to my daughter’s school I’m not reading with her enough. According to my son I’m not nice enough. According to the white glove test I’m not cleaning my home enough. According to my neighbors I’m not landscaping my yard enough. According to Cover Girl I’m not pretty enough. According to Nike I’m not running enough. According to Victoria Secret I’m not sexy enough. According to the Church I’m not holy enough. According to my bank I’m not rich enough. According to my calendar I’m not doing enough. According to my gas tank I’m not full enough. According to my greasy hair I’m not clean enough. According to my kitchen I don’t cook enough. According to my laundry I don’t wash enough. According to my dog I don’t play enough.
According to the human standards of this world, we will NEVER be enough. Not ever. We have voices from all different directions at all different times telling us over and over and over that we aren’t enough _______. And last night as I was brushing my teeth getting ready for bed I heard, “According to your dentist you’re not brushing/flossing enough.” And my heart fell. Yet another failure in my epically long list of failures just today. And then the Holy Spirit piped in, “I am the ONLY one in your life that tells you that you are enough. Your faith in Jesus declares that you are enough. In fact, it declares that you are just right just the way that you are.” I stood up with a smile on my face. Thank You Lord that in this world where I will never measure up to anyone’s standards, including my own, You are my refuge and my strength. I thank You that in this life where I am surrounded by messages telling me that I’m not enough, You have sent me a message telling me that I don’t have to be. That because of Your Son Jesus, fulfilling ALL the requirements of the Law for me, I don’t have to fulfill any of them and I can still be acceptable in Your sight.
According to the Law if I fail in one tiny aspect of it I have failed ALL of it. Jesus fulfilled ALL of it so that I don’t have to fulfill even one tiny aspect of it! Hallelujah!
Does that mean I don’t ever try to be a good person or do the right thing? No! Of course not. What it means is that I don’t beat myself up, or let anyone else beat me up, for falling short of their idea of what perfection looks like.
In 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 it says:
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this; that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The love of Christ has the power to control us! When we fully receive the love that Jesus poured out on that cross and we grasp the full forgiveness that has taken place, we are COMPELLED to good works! We are inspired to do the right thing without anyone telling us what that thing is. When we come to fully stand in His marvelous light of Grace we can’t help but tell others of the forgiveness that is in Christ Jesus, we can’t help but cut out the drinking and the adultery and the vileness. Why? Because the Love of Christ tells us that we’re better than that. The Love of Christ empowers us to do things we couldn’t ever do on our own. The Love of Christ fills us up inside to such a full measure that we have no trouble measuring up to God’s NEW standard.
A few days ago, in The Stars, I talked about the Law and how God gave the Law to show humanity what the standard is for being “like God”. (Genesis 3:5) In the gospel of Matthew chapter five Jesus opens up our eyes to the full purity and perfection of the Law.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (21-26)
Not only is it against the Law to murder, it’s against the Law to even be ANGRY! Is that even humanly possible??? No! And that’s the whole point! (Jesus keeps going in Matthew if you need to read more.) It is humanly impossible to follow the letter of the Law. That’s probably why Jesus prefaced this sermon with, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
Not even the tiniest Hebrew letter (iota) or the smallest grammatical mark (dot) will disappear from the Law until heaven and earth pass away. Have heaven and or earth passed away? No. So how can this be? Simple. Look back at the end of Jesus’ message on murder and holding things against your brother. According to the Law (which is still in practice) if you are found guilty you must be put in prison “until you have paid the last penny”.
Here’s a great example of the Law that God just gave me. You know those motorized horses at the front of the grocery store? Meijer has Sandy. We LOVE Sandy. In order to make Sandy move and take you for a ride you have to put a penny into the machine. If you want to keep riding you put in another penny. Simple.
OK, the Law is like Sandy. The Law, in its perfection, requires payment in order to receive the full benefits of being a Child of God. So God instituted animal sacrifice so that humans had a method of payment in order to ride. Except, not one could pay; sin is expensive – so expensive that we run out of pennies before we’re ever even born.
Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross is like a never ending supply of pennies. Instead of humanity never getting to ride Sandy because they’ve run out of pennies, He stands there with His pockets full allowing us to just keep on riding while He just keeps putting in pennies. No, I take that back, because in reality, it’s even better than that! It’s really more like He puts in a special coin that only He has that just turns the machine on… and then it stays on… forever. And we never have to get off the ride of our lives because Jesus has paid it all, once and for all.