• on August 14, 2017

More Than: Our Achievements

by Daniel Burton

One of the fundamental questions that people ask of themselves is “Am I good enough?”  We want to know that what we have to offer to the people around us will be enough.  Deep down, this is rooted in our desire to be accepted by presenting ourselves fully as who we are and standing, waiting on whether we will be accepted or not.  The same is true in our spiritual lives as well.  We strive to bring out best to God with the intention that our best will be acceptable to God.  We want what we have to be good enough because our identity has been cemented into what we are able to do.  Yet, in doing so, we miss the fullness of the Gospel.  Our works, simply put, are not good enough to earn or merit the fullness of God’s presence and relationship in our lives.  The best that we have to offer will never be able to fully live up to the standards of holiness

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

– Isaiah 64:6, NIV

The best I am able to bring in my approach of God is not enough.  The standard of God is perfection.  Thinking we are able to meet the standard of perfection without the help of God attempts to bypass the cross.  When standing on merit of what we do, our works can only be viewed as filthy rags, unfit to stand before the presence of God.  Yet the message of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ seems to stand in contradiction.  We are invited to approach the throne room of God with confidence and called into deeper and meaningful relationship with our creator and maker.  We are more than even our best because of Christ who goes before us and redeems us.  Our response is nothing less than full devotion to God.

Your Identity Is More Than What You Can Offer

For so many people, the issue of identity and where we find our self worth can be put in many different places.  For some, we put it in brains.  Still, for others we put it in our beauty and looks.  Whatever we seek to build our identity in, we strive to be the best to either impress ourselves or to prove we deserve the spiritual gifts we receive.  However, polished we may attempt to depict ourselves, our greatest works still do not meet the standards of holiness. The message of the gospel, though, is clear.  Our identity is not in our ability to do great things, but in our ability to submit to God at the foot of the cross.

Our greatest works cannot redeem us, only the work of Jesus Christ and putting our faith in Him. Click To Tweet

In a temporal or eternal sense, our greatest works are unable to bring full satisfaction or identity.  Whatever we have attempted to put our identity in through what we are able to accomplish will ultimately fall short.  However, Jesus Christ offers us a new identity.  Through the redemption of Jesus Christ, we are made new and even our best is multiplied by the grace of Jesus Christ. Where our best falls short, Christ reigns eternal.  Where we are able to perform, Christ reigns supreme as the King over all, able to do all things. Our greatest works cannot redeem us, only the work of Jesus Christ and putting our faith in Him.

The Response of Grace is Our Worship In Grace

In response to the grace of God is our worship.  God looks at our heart and sees our intent in approaching Him.  As His children, we pursue God with the best of our gifts and offerings, not because they are good, but because He is good.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1, NIV) Worship is not this time of music, although music is certainly a form, worship is the giving of ourselves fully and completely as a living sacrifice.  We give everything to God because Christ paved a way for our perfection.  It is not because our works are holy, but because it is the best we are able to offer.  We pursue the Lord with the core of our innermost being and expressed through our outward following of a True and Risen Lord.

God, in the richness of His grace and mercy, provides the grace to bring us home. Click To Tweet

Yet, there will be times when we will fail and stumble.  Can any of us say we are dedicated fully worshipping God with the wholeness of ourselves?  During the times we stumble, there is grace to return.  This is the beauty of God viewing us as more than our best.  Our best efforts, apart from God, will stumble and fall.  God, in the richness of His grace and mercy, provides the grace to bring us home.  We can return to God knowing that while our best efforts fall short, Christ picks us up and makes us Holy.  His holiness is imputed to us and we stand firm in the Gospel that Christ has conquered death and saved our souls.

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God Does Not View Your Labors as ‘Filthy Rags’ by Michael Kruger


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