Thursday, September 16, 2010

When We're Tired of Trying to Measure Up

I get tired of trying to measure up.  Trying to measure up to what I've felt are God's expectations, trying to measure up to what others seem to expect of me, trying to measure up to my own demands for myself, even.

It's great to remember, when I get tired of trying to meet those impossible standards, that God says I can rest.  I can rest, because between Him and me, things are okay.  Christ has already "measured up" for me, so I don't have to!  I measure up just fine in Jesus, whose work is perfect.  God isn't placing any expectations on me.  He's perfectly satisfied with the work of the Son on my behalf, and since I'm in the Son, He's perfectly satisfied with me!  Those words sound almost brash to write.  But it's true according to the Bible - we are justified (made right in God's sight) FREELY as a gift by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24), for by ONE offering He has perfected forever (made perfect before God) those who are sanctified (Heb. 10:14)!  We're made right and perfected by the work of Jesus.  To me, that means I have been lifted up in Christ outside the realm of "expectations" and "needing to measure up."

When I get tired of trying to measure up to the expectations put out for me in this world, it's nice to know that before God I am completely acceptable!  I have the good opinion of the One who matters most.  His good opinion of me puts me in a place that is above and separate from the opinions of others.  I tend to care too much what other people think.  But the increasing awareness that God approves of me frees me from caring so much about other people's approval.  It also frees me to be able to minister to them.  The answer always seems to come back to Him and how He sees me.  He says I've measured up in Christ and am forever acceptable to Him!

Jeff VanVonderen has a book called "Tired of Trying to Measure Up."  It's like a counselor in a book, and there are many wonderful gems in this book to give us relief from feeling the need to "measure up" before God.  I want to share a few of my favorite quotes from this book:

"It is God's grace, not our striving, that makes us accepted and acceptable.  It is His performance in Christ, not our trying hard to perform, that eradicates our shame.

"What's so wonderful is that we can be loved, accepted, capable and worthwhile for free - because , in love, god purchased our eternal state of "acceptedness" with the blood of His own Son, Jesus Christ...That's the REAL Good News of the Gospel!

"The solution to the self-effort treadmill is resting in what God has already done through Jesus Christ.

"Develop the picture of your worth and value from God, not from the false reflections that come out of your past.

"If my acceptance is based on HIS performance, it's totally secure!  Unchangeable!

"Our heavenly Father is not just putting up with us.  He likes it when we come around.  We aren't bothering Him with our problems.  He isn't going to shame us for not having it all together...God's response toward those in pain is comfort..not shame for being so human that we have problems.

"In God's scheme of things, in the true Christian life there is no performance on our part.

"The behavior fight is the wrong fight.

"Many Christians live their whole lives trying to earn, with their own behavior, what was already purchased for them by the blood of Jesus:  life, value, and God's approval.

"Jesus came to make you acceptable to God, and He has!..."Earning" value and acceptance isn't possible.  Thankfully, it's already been given to us by God's grace, through Christ's performance."

                                                          Jeff VanVonderen

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14