“Am I good enough?” This question plagues most of us. Sometimes, life feels like a competition. We each reach for the next promotion, the next interview, etc. This attitude also dangerously seeps into our relationships. Single men may not feel good enough to pursue, single women may not feel good enough to go to coffee, kids don’t feel good enough for their parents, parents don’t feel good enough for their kids, and the list goes on.
We kill ourselves with perfectionism. We want to be the best we can be at everything we do. And to do this, we try to perform, perform, perform until we trust in our own performance. This is when things begin to go off kilter, and we begin to feel the pressure.
In Mathew 23, Jesus calls out the Pharisees to the crowd. “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,” The Pharisees wanted people to see how religious they were. They wanted people to see the things that they did “for God.” Jesus, however, did not walk around with a box of memory verses strapped to His head (that’s a phylactery). Jesus was focused on what His Father wanted: the redemption of His creation.
The Pharisees wanted to be seen as great men for God. Jesus, though equal with the Father being His Son, was a servant to all.
How many times do I want to be seen as a “great man before God”? Am I living with self imposed burdens placed on my shoulders? The Pharisees placed burdens on others, but am I Pharisee to myself? When I want to attain righteousness on my own, I begin to become a Pharisee.
A couple of things happen with this:
1) Self-righteousness can begin from within with me placing burdens on myself. However, it doesn’t stop there. Self-righteousness doesn’t tend to stay locked up inside, but it spreads. My expectations on myself begin to become expectations on other people. The weight I put on myself begins to spread to others.
2) I crash and burn. This is the greatest gift God can give someone who has fallen pray to thinking that he or she can make it without the help of God. We can’t make it on our own.
I’m not just writing about getting your ticket punched to heaven. The demands of life are big. The demands we place on ourselves are big. These things are so big, that we cannot humanly do it.
You may question if what you are doing is good enough. You may question if you are good enough. Whether you believe it or not, you were bought with a steep price. God didn’t create you to be good enough, He created you to be excellent. He created you in His own image. He bought you back through His Son.
We don’t have to be perfect. We can’t attain greatness on our own. However, what we can’t do on our own speaks all the louder of God’s goodness as He carries us through.