I failed again. No, not a class or an assignment. Worse. I failed my God.
Sometimes it feels like an hourly thing. Let me give you a rundown of what happened. The other day at work, some of the girls were chatting about their kids. I needed someone to check Insulin with, so I walked over, vial and syringe in hand. Here’s how the conversation went:
Nurse A: Reba, how are you so good?
Nurse B: Yeah Reba! How did you get so good? Tell us your secret!
Me: Um.. What are y’all talking about? (Thinking: nursing stuff)
Nurse A: You’re just such a good girl! I want my daughter to be like you!
Me: Uhh haha um.. (totally uncomfortable) Can you check Insulin with me?
On the long drive home, I came up with a million and one things I could have said that would have been a million and one times better than, “Uh can you check Insulin with me?” What I should have said, what I wish I could go back in time and say is this: I am not good. I’ve messed up and done bad things. But if there is any good in me, it is 100% Jesus. I’m not good, but He is. And His love compels me to fulfill HIS definition of “good.”
His definition. Not the world’s, not my coworkers’, not society’s.
You would think God, the most righteous person in the universe, would have a pretty high standard when it comes to “being good.” That seems logical, right? We hold one another to the standards we hold ourselves to – sometimes higher. But God is different, y’all. He is the epitome of perfection, but He doesn’t demand perfection from us. He demands sincerity of heart. He knows we can never reach His level of “good.” Why? Because we’re human and sinful and it’s in our very nature to do the opposite of what He wants.
He knows we are incapable of truly reflecting His goodness. But He loves us anyways. The effort we put into sincerely reflecting His goodness is what satisfies His definition of the word. He wants our hearts more than our empty actions. He wants our love more than our meaningless words.
I failed in that conversation with my coworkers. I had a great opportunity to really tell them why my life seemed different – why I seemed different. I didn’t even need to initiate the conversation – they were asking me! But I missed this opportunity. Just as I have missed several others. The disappointment and frustration I felt afterwards was overwhelming. I literally thought, “God, why do I SUCK?! Why can’t I ever do this right?!” Despite my failure last week, I know the Lord still loves me. I know His goodness still covers my failures. I know even this situation will be for my growth. And I know that He will continue His work in me until it is complete. I know that He will equip me and change me – so much so that who I am will be forgotten and all that will remain is Him in me.
It doesn’t matter how far we’ve wandered, how hard we’ve fallen, how badly we’ve screwed up. As long as we come before Him with repentant hearts that are fixed on genuinely pursuing Him, He will show us mercy and grace. And as if that’s not enough, He will bless us with a more intimate knowledge of Him, of His heart for us, of His heart for others. We just need to want Him with all our hearts. And when we fail Him, we need to come before Him with sincere hearts, confess our shortcomings, and embrace the grace He pours out on us.
We fail daily. Hourly. Sometimes, by the minute. How blessed we are to know with all confidence that despite our failures, despite our shortcomings, He loves us, forgives us and grows us in Him! It’s easy to buy into the lies that we’re not “good enough.” In reality, it’s actually not a lie. It’s the truth. We can and will never be “good enough” for God. We are innately sinful. But praise God that His righteousness covers our sins! Praise God that the holiness of Christ is what makes us who we are. Our sin doesn’t define us, our failures don’t define us, our countless screw-ups and poor decisions don’t define us. We are the children of the Most High God, bought by the precious blood of Christ. And even in our failures, He finds purpose for us.
Friends, it doesn’t matter whether the world thinks you’re “good.” God knows our hearts, and our hearts reflect our truest selves. When the world thinks you’re “good,” humbly remind them it’s not you who is good, but Jesus who lives in you. When the world tells you you’re not “good enough,” tell them you don’t have to be because the goodness of Christ far exceeds anything we could imagine. It doesn’t matter which scenario you find yourself in. HE is always the answer.
For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.