My daughter recently was studying for a history test. As I quizzed her on some key facts, she got some right and some wrong. It was getting late, she was getting frustrated, and at one point she declared, “I think that’s good enough.”
I think life feels a little like a history test sometimes. We better study up and work hard and get the answers right and be a good person and do enough good things and measure up and get more right than we get wrong…
But how do we know it’s good enough? And what qualifies as “good” anyway? I know I can do some good things but with bad motives – so does that negate the “good” thing?
And we are out of breath. Exhausted and tired and feeling unsettled.
There was a young rich guy who ran up to Jesus and asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother” (Mark 10:17-19).
The dude responded confidently that he had done all these things.
“Jesus looked him hard in the eye, loved him and said, ‘There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor…and come follow me’ (Mark 10:21).
Walking away with a heavy heart, the young man knew he was holding onto a lot of things. Deep down he knew he had a long way to go to be “good enough.”
The point Jesus wants us to understand is this: It is impossible to be good enough. So stop trying to earn your way to Heaven. You’ll never get 100% correct on the exam. You’ll always get a few things wrong along the way.
You see, God doesn’t want our performance. He wants our hearts. He wants all of who we are to be consumed with all of who He is. More trusting in who He is and less trusting in what we do.
Every other religion says, “Do this and do that.” But Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. He came to start a relationship. And when He took His final breath on the cross He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
He lived a “good” life so we didn’t have to. He was perfect so we didn’t have to be.
Despite our sins, we can rest assured that we are forgiven and accepted and loved no matter what. This is the peace and joy we were meant to have each day!
Prayer: God, thank you for loving me just the way I am. Help me to trust in your finished work on the cross. I give you my whole heart and life to you today. Amen.