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This is post is the third in a series entitled “Pitfalls of Christianity”. In this series various authors explain common misunderstandings that people who are Christians or want to be Christians often meet with in their experience. These “pitfalls” are all found in statements in the book Steps to Christ in which the author explains struggles that “many” face. The quote for the current article is: “How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ.” SC 31.—Editor.
A heart-broken girl with cutting marks all over her arms—not good enough. A young man that escaped from home, spending all money on party and drugs—not good enough. An adult that has struggled with health all his life, a hindrance that kept him from pursuing his dreams—not good enough.
Have you ever felt that you are not good enough? Not good enough in your family, among friends, in society, in school, or perhaps not good enough at your job. These issues may be related or unrelated to an even worse condition: Not feeling good enough for God!
The Heart Is Deceitful
“How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ.” Steps to Christ, 31. It is true that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jer 17:9.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” Isa 53:6. We are all in the same boat. We have all turned away from the Shepherd, left the path of righteousness, searching for the missing piece of true joy somewhere else. However, Isaiah 53:6 doesn’t end on that note. The verse continues: “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. While we chose the way to destruction, Jesus took upon Him the sins of us all!
You might say that it doesn’t apply to you, because you have sunk so deep into trouble that you are still not good enough for Jesus, and that there is no hope for you. But let’s see what else the Scripture says.
“My Sin Is Too Great!”
Some feel that they have sinned so much that they can no longer return to God. Maybe you are afraid you might have committed the unpardonable sin (sin against the Holy Spirit), full of regret over previous bad decisions in your life. But this in itself serves as an evidence that the Spirit is working on you, and thus God has not left you. You see, the Spirit was sent to “convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John 16:8.
Look at Paul—a blasphemer, persecutor, and murderer. He stated with confidence: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1Tim 1:15, KJV. Paul repented and God used him mightily to take the gospel to the world.
What You Are Worth
Imagine that I have a 100 Euro bill in my hand, and I want to give it to you. Do you want it? Of course! Let’s say I crumple it together so it gets ugly. Still want it? I’m sure you do! Now I put it on the ground and jump on it, and it’s full of dust. Why would you want it? Because it has the same value! No matter how wrinkled and dusty it is, it is still a 100 Euro bill.
How much are you worth? 1000 Euros? 100 000 Euros? You are worth the Son of God giving up the glory and honor in heaven, coming down to this dark sinful earth, dying for you. What an immense value! And more so, the Father let go of His Son, risking everything to save humanity. As the shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep, Jesus would have died even if it was only for you. “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17. We were already condemned before He came, because of our sin.
What to Do?
Mary Magdalene was a woman of bad reputation, out of whom Jesus cast seven evil spirits. Some commentators believe she was the woman caught in adultery in John ch 8. Jesus had pardoned her sins, and she wanted to show him gratitude. She had heard Him speaking of His death. So she bought a very costly perfume and started to anoint Him. She fell weeping at His feet, and washed them with her tears and wiped them with her long hair.
In the same way, the best place you can be when you are in trouble is at the feet of Jesus. Claim this great promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9, KJV. It doesn’t matter how sinful you may feel, because “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Rom 5:20, NIV. “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” 1 John 3:20.
The poor publican prayed, "God be merciful to me a sinner" Luke 18:13. He regarded himself as a very wicked man, and others looked upon him in the same light. In himself, he did not feel good enough, yet he felt a need and took his only chance. With a burden of guilt and shame he came before God, asking for His mercy. What a great contrast to the Pharisee’s boastful, self-righteous prayer!
Consider this interesting quote from Ellen White:
“There are some lessons that are never learned only through failure. Peter was a better man after his fall. The Lord permits his children to fall; and then, if they repent of their wrongdoing, he helps them to stand on vantage ground.”—Ellen White, Review and Herald, December 16, 1902.
There was hope for the poor publican, for Paul, Peter, and Mary Magdalene, and there is certainly hope for you, my friend, whatever your situation, whatever your sin.
If you realize your sinfulness, don’t wait to make yourself better. We can never become better through our own efforts. Only God can help us through His grace. Go to Christ just as you are, confess your sin, give your life entirely to Him daily, and He will surely receive you and lead you on the path of life.
Bible texts NKJV, unless otherwise noted.
Christian Hjortland is director and speaker for Empower Missions.