“I’m a failure. I mess up everything I touch at work. I am ruining my kids and my marriage. I’m not capable of serving the church adequately. I’m never going to beat this.” This is the self-talk of a person who sees only themselves. This is pride incognito. This is me-centeredness. And, if I’m completely honest, these are the thoughts that I struggle with daily. Constantly living an existence that is plagued by the feelings of inadequacies can be crippling. Pride, especially in the form of self-loathing, can be insidious. Self-deprecation can carry a tone of holiness- just consider the monastics. But, at the heart of it all is self.
The reality is that while we may not feel good enough, we are accepted in the Beloved. We are declared righteous by God through the work of His Son. This righteousness is a positional righteousness, a declaration, a verdict, if you will. In Christ, we will never be more or less righteous. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). This is good news for weary hearts. Yes, we still struggle with sin. Yes, we make mistakes. However, my status as a beloved child of God will never change. The perfect obedience of Christ Jesus is credited to me, by faith, and I stand completely free before God.
How quickly we forget the Gospel! How quickly we forget the Good News! Evangelicalism has been drifting toward moralism and pietism leaving weary hearts broken in its path. If we are in Christ, then our obedience flows from the law written on our hearts out of our love for Christ Jesus. However, it is never the grounds of our standing before God. Does this mean that a Christian can live in open rebellion against God? Of course not! It is the desire of genuine believers to express their faith in obedience (cf. Rom 6, James 2). It does mean, though, that we are free from the trap of a performance-based relationship with God. Our relationship with a Holy God is mediated by Christ.
So, if you feel like a failure, a screw-up, inadequate, unworthy, and defeated… be encouraged. God’s covenantal love for you is constant and unwavering. Whether you’re living your ‘best life’ or bouncing through the week like a pinball, you have a place at the table.
Soli Deo Gloria,