You Are Good
A dear friend is in the end stages of a long battle with disease. As she approaches the inevitable she has been coming to grips with her feelings about death and the uncertainties that arise with the unknown. Though she is weary of the struggle and pain and welcomes the idea of relief, there are still those natural, nagging questions about existence, and whether all we have been told about grace and acceptance are true in the end. She is clinging in trust, but the enemy of our faith likes to slip in that sinister and demoralizing question, “Are you good enough?”
The question is sinister because it points out the fact that none of us can sincerely claim to be good enough—at least not if we understand God’s standard of absolute perfection. This is precisely why each and every one of us needs God’s grace, through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, in order to access His many promises for a glorious life eternal. Thus, the answer to that question is, “No, I’m not good enough, but I’m trusting in the One who is!”
From the earliest interaction with mankind, the enemy has been trying to undermine our understanding of God’s goodness. The serpent questions God’s provision (“Does God forbid you to eat from any tree?”). He questions God’s motives, insinuating that God wants to keep all that knowledge to Himself. Both of these aim at the heart of God’s goodness to us: Will He provide when we are in need? Does He have our best interests at heart or only His own?
But when we look at the Word of God it is full of evidence that God more than provides for us, that His goodness is abundant and overflowing. And while He is supremely concerned about His glory, He never takes His glory at the expense of our good. The ultimate example of this is that He knew we would never be able to redeem ourselves, so He made provision for us through the cross. So this blows the whole “God will not provide” deception out of the water. And by the very act of offering Himself as our provision, leaving the privileges and glories of Heaven to come down to us, enduring the agony and humiliation of His death, He demonstrated unmistakably that our best interests are intensely important to Him. Yes, He gained great glory by this act of self-sacrifice and atonement, but His goodness at paying so unfathomable a personal price negates the insinuations of the enemy that His motives toward us are any less than total goodness.
Indeed, at the very moment of judgement for Adam and Eve’s sin, God showed that both aspersions about His character were false. He provided them with covering. He provided them with hope for a redemption and ultimate righting of the consequences of their sin for all of creation. Even His placement of a guard at the entrance to the Garden was a sign of His goodness in protecting them from the outcome of eating from the Tree of Life and having to live forever under the penalties of the curse. Time and again He showed that He cared for them and still had their best interests at heart, even though they had rebelled against Him. He could have erased the mess and started over, but He cared for them.
Throughout the Scriptures we see this same goodness toward people whose fallen hearts were bent on rebellion. He provided for them. He warned them and pleaded to them. He says, “All day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Romans 10:21; Isaiah 65:21).
In His goodness He showed compassion, as displayed when Jesus called out to Jerusalem, “How often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not” (Matthew 23:37). He said this even knowing that they would soon reject Him and send Him to the cross. Recognizing this, He still put their best interests ahead of His own and laid down His life. Yes! Our God is good!!!
So when the enemy hisses the “good enough” question in our ears, or casts aspersions on the provision, intentions or character of God toward us, the answer is the same, “I’m not trusting in my own goodness; I’m trusting in God’s. I believe He is good and that He is good to me.” For extra measure we can then begin to recite the many ways that God has been good to us. Cultivating a grateful heart for the countless goodnesses of God toward us is the quickest way to peace, contentment, hope, and worship. Scriptures tell us to enter His gates with thanksgiving, so what better way into the delights of His presence than to pave the way with expressions of gratitude for His goodness. Such an attitude proclaims truth, it chases the enemy away because He can’t stand to hear God’s name blessed, and it is a balm on our own spirits as we remind ourselves of the great truth and great goodness of our loving Lord.
How has God been good to you? What are the evidences of this in your life? Share some of these with others.