Next week, I'm starting a new series in my Sunday school class about the women of the Bible. I'm a bit overwhelmed, to be honest, but I'm also excited.
There are 188 women named in the Bible. A good percentage of those were not exactly upstanding citizens - in fact, that list includes prostitutes, adulteresses and the woman who committed the very first sin.
Yet, God put them in the Bible. By name.
I don't know about you, but that makes me feel a whole lot better.
The thing is, I get caught up a lot in the concept of being good enough or doing enough, for God. It's as if there is an invisible meter I have running in my head. At the top is the gold star of God's approval and acceptance, and I spend a lot of time running in my gerbil wheel trying to get to the top of that meter.
The truth is though, I'm already "good enough" for God because NOBODY is good enough for God. Confused yet?
What I mean is that nobody can be good enough or do enough to earn/deserve God's approval and acceptance. Without Christ's death and resurrection, we'd all be unacceptable.
BUT, and this is a big but, Christ DID die on the cross for my sins. He DID defeat death. He DID ascend into heaven to intercede on my behalf.
Salvation and God's approval have nothing to do with ME at all. It's all Christ's actions on my behalf. My only part is to confess and believe.
Yes, MY righteousness is like filthy rags (as it says in Isaiah 64:6) but thankfully I'm not wearing those old rags anymore. Instead, I get to put on Christ's clothing which includes righteousness.
When I made the decision to accept Christ as my Savior, He made me a new creature. The Bible says before salvation, I was dead, but in Christ I am alive. And He didn't just resurrect the old me - I was made into a new creature. I didn't just get an outward makeover - I got a holy transformation from the inside out. Like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz - I got a new heart.
I love the Bible because it is not a book full of people who have it all together and look good. Instead, it is full of people just like me who mess up all the time - sometimes on a rather large scale (David comes to mind). Yet, God tells their stories and through each one, His glory shines through.
Please don't get me wrong - this isn't a blank check to go out and do whatever you want to do because of God's grace. Instead, that grace should make you feel so thankful that you press as close to God as possible and you obey what He asks of you. But, I don't have to keep running on the wheel of "good enough," afraid if I slip off, God will somehow no longer love me or accept me. I am His beloved child. There's no putting my best face forward. He knows all of me - even the ugly stuff.
He loves me anyway.
This morning in my quiet time, the old hymn I Need Thee Every Hour came to mind. How true that is. I DO need Him every hour - more like every minute - and thankfully, He's there and promises never to leave me, not even for a second.
I am so excited to see what God is going to teach me and my class through the lives of the imperfect women recorded in His Word.
For now, I'll leave you with the words of that hymn.
I Need Thee Every Hour
By Annie S. Hawks, 1872
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
Oh, make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.