HOW GOOD IS GOOD ENOUGH?
Of all the content I have written so far, I consider this the “sincerest” of them all. I say “sincere” not because the previous ones were any less so in the sense of veracity in doctrine. I say so because it is a reflection of the present dealings of God in my own life. So, even as I write to you, dear reader, I write to myself also. And I believe strongly that the few insights in this release, if properly assimilated, can be highly instrumental in accelerating your spiritual growth. Now, since we are already on the “path of sincerity”, let me begin by sharing a personal experience of mine.
It was late July, 2013 and I was at a youth/children’s (Scripture Union) camp in my home state. Actually, it so happened that I had also just returned from an explosive conference in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. So, you could say that I wasn’t your “regular Christian” at this point (I say this comically). What I mean is that I felt really powerful; having experienced such a strong move of God. But this feeling, like every other feeling, wasn’t built to last. For in no time, I found my self in the company of old friends and it wasn’t long before I was caught in a conversation rather unbecoming of a “powerful Christian”.
What I didn’t know was that God was setting me up for a very important lesson. Thus, during one of the night sessions at this camp, the Lord began to move in the auditorium. Alas, there was a demon-possessed girl few rows away from where I was standing. And the power of God hit her. She began to wiggle and shake, shouting also in the process. Now, the strangest thing happened to me at that point; I felt a strong leading to lay hands on her. In my rational state of mind, all I could see in that moment was a picture of me in “that” conversation with my friends. Then I also remembered that I was just coming from a power-packed conference. How I was able to summon courage to pray for this girl till she was free of the demon, I cannot tell. But I know that I didn’t fully grasp the lesson God was teaching me that day because I still went on several years to battle with the truth.
Reconciling Discipline with Grace
One of the subject matters that troubles our generation so much is that of grace. Many minimize grace so much that it is reduced to mere works and some maximize it so much that it becomes sheer chaos. It is an unequivocal truth that the Christian has been called to a life of discipline. However, the pursuit of spiritual discipline outside of grace is a fool’s errand. A young Christian sometimes finds it cumbersome to reconcile discipline with grace. But both are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they must work together if there is going to be any hope of results. Discipline outside of grace is legalism, servitude and a return to the Old Testament. On the other hand, grace without discipline is lawlessness. See what Paul says to Titus. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” So, we come to understand that grace leads us to discipline unto godliness and good works. Amen!
Raised in a rather conservative setting, I always found it really hard to accept that God isn’t a very mean schoolteacher standing behind my head, waiting to lace my back with strokes of the cane. You see, it may sound strange but as a Christian, God isn’t a Judge to you, He is a Father. Now, He’s gonna chastise you like every good earthly father but He isn’t judging you now. In fact, He isn’t judging anyone now. A time is gonna come for that; the Judgement day!
The problem with a performance-based Christianity is that it can never yield results. One is always torn between two extremes. It means one is either good enough or not good enough. When we feel that we’re good enough, we end up in the ditch of self-righteousness. And when we feel otherwise, we become guilt-conscious. Take for example, in that anecdote I shared, which Christian did God see me as? The one who just partook of a powerful conference or the one engaged in an unproductive conversation with friends? Take some time to consider this and take note of your choice.
Fortunately, the answer is neither! God doesn’t see you as either of these Christians.
Because if He did, then the standard would be rather fickle. And God doesn’t fancy unstable things. In the New Covenant, God never intended for man to deal with Him directly any longer, only through Christ. So, quit judging yourself when God doesn’t. If there’s any performance meter at all, then it is not calibrated according to how much you do. It is calibrated based on how much you trust; in God. As a growing Christian, what you truly believe matters more than what you do now. And if you believe in the truth, it will eventually determine what you do. This is where you must radically contend using your faith to destroy every work of the enemy in your life.
And this is the foolishness of the gospel. That these rather simple truths can turn our lives around. So simple that they become complex. Complex to the self-righteous but utterly simple to those who rely upon the Lord.
Beating the Devil at his Game
The Devil has only one job; to take your gaze off Christ. Whatever tools he uses, be it fear, doubt or sin, it doesn’t matter. Once you recognize where he is going, you’re already miles ahead of him. You must defeat the Devil in your mind! Every time, in whatever circumstances, the only place to run is into the arms of the Lord. Whatever you lose in this world, never lose your trust in God. One is never too filthy to be undeserving of God’s grace and never too righteous to have no need of it. So, the next time the Devil says to you, “You’re not good enough”, respond thus; “I know I’m not. I’ll never be.”