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Fearful Question: Am I Good Enough?

“Am I Good Enough?”

The question I ask myself a lot. Before I was even a professed believer I felt like I was good enough but continually came back to this question. My parents approved of whatever I did, people generally thought I was a good guy. Heck, even now I do not think that there is any one that legitimately dislikes me as a person really. What happens when a person like that comes face to face with a perfect God? What happens when their good enough is nothing in comparison of God’s perfect will?

Apparently I am not the only one struggling, as I read I’m Not Okay, mirroring some thoughts I’ve had thinking through this. This is a struggling reality when coming to know Christ because I can read scripture like this,


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″

…or today when I was sitting in Adults Sunday School we read over Romans 3. The last time I gave my testimony in front of high schoolers even a fellow youth leader felt like my story was that “I was never good enough.” My testimony includes the failure of Christian relationship because of lust. That failure turning into me running away from God because he didn’t bless my attempts with a Christian Gal. It took me away from the church to another state to live with a non-believer living in sin till that ultimately fails. I returned to church. Even the most recent dating attempt failing because I wanted to spend too much time in ministry.

My testimony brings me to this point. I served for a good portion of my time after I returned to church to become “good enough” again.  Yet now is when I finally noticed that I am still frantically trying to be “good enough” when Christ has already shown me I clearly am not.

I deal with a lot of self-condemnation because I know these things and feel that the weight of my sins affect those around me. I am someone who takes guilt to a different level; I’ve been told to not be so hard on myself. This is near impossible because if I am to take light of my sins then how can I ever hope to be good enough to serve God.

My pastor even said I go in this cycle of doing well and then wanting to back out of everything because of this tension. This tension built as I practiced my preaching for this upcoming week at CRAVE on Nehemiah 4 of facing opposition. Hear this?

I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH

…to be a youth leader, speaker, boyfriend, husband, friend, person, believer, teacher, student, or me… but God says so much more

… but God’s grace and mercy says I should not be like this. Could it be answered by praying harder? Yet I have recognized my need for my savior more in these statements. Is it answered by knowing I profess Jesus as my savior? Yet I know that I am still responsible to give an account.

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Desire for God’s Power

Desire to not settle for false things

My feelings have been that I am one of the few people around my age that wants to see God’s power displayed in miraculous ways. Not that I need to see them to confirm my faith but by faith see them performed. After my experience visiting a local church in Anchorage, AK I noticed a bunch of people around my age attending this church and then sat and heard the preacher speak…

Yelling and Passion

This preacher was not afraid to call out people from their high seats of theology, their fear from gifts of spirituality, throw tons of cherry picked verses that further convicts to his point or boast in his own faith producing works. The failure was his pride to call out a list of persons who do not believe that the gift of tongues is speaking in gibberish like prayer language…. this list fit me in every way which prompted me to walk out of during service after he called me out those for not having faith that some gibberish could honor the Lord.


Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. -Acts2:6

The preacher doesn’t know me or my story and I can’t blame him being a two week attender. This is what broke my heart about this session the most…

I believed in all that once

In 2007 as a new believer in Church and a new pastor almost like this one I just experienced. Calling for all the congregation to be able to speak in tongues, and desire it above the others. Strangely the congregation I grew up with for a year adopted gibberish yelling in prayer service.  The prayer language then found its way into the regular service times. It was difficult for me and for the first time…

I felt fake in my faith

Tried hard… Prayed harder… and ultimately ended up faking it so that I could fit in the prayer groups that now spoke in ‘tongues’ eventually I couldn’t keep up with the new elitism that was born in this church. I deeply desired to learn more about God but didn’t know if what was happening was right. I had no clue the other dark remarks the pastor was planting in the warriors of faith I looked to. One friend was divorced by a wife who was told by pastor he was diseased. A pregnant mother told her child would be born deformed if they didn’t tithe more. This is not to say this Pastor in AK is doing this but… what scares me again….I believed in this but also…

Many desires to see God’s power but don’t know what they are looking for…

So they have to settle and hope they fell into a healthy congregation… or settle and find they become mired in false doctrine.


“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” -Acts17:11

The power of God and the Word of God will always be reconciled to another. The study of scripture is needed mightily to know when there is an abuse of power and of scripture. I know my generation is hurting to see God power manifested, but never hope they settle for a gimmicky power and sly tongues.

Being a Church Visitor

What does being a Church Guest look like?

Many people visit churches everyday or week and the situation might be different each time. They might of been invited, moved into the area, or God calling someone to just check it out to find some answers. The thing is what is our response as believers when these people walk in?  What does it look like if we became a church guest? What are our expectations? This starts some of my criticism of the church visit.

Storytime

The story starts with a 26 year old male who is looking for girls who share the faith. He is a leader that is tired of what his young adults group does all the time they do the following: talk huge spiritual game in church on Sundays, fails to go out and invite friends
to show up Sunday, are comfortable only praying at official church prayer meetings, or even having difficulties to say hi to a new person walking into church.
The church guest honestly looks like a bit of a jaded believer at this point. There has to be some girls that might be in surrounding churches. A scan of church in the area he finds a Bible Study that meets at 7, for young adults 20-30. This would be a great place to potentially get an excited young adults group, and hey, maybe even meet some girls?

First Night

The night comes and he shows up a bit early to meet the pastor who is setting up a grill. Some small talk happens and more people start showing up to “fellowship night, no lesson tonight”. A couple people introduce themselves and get the church guest’s name. As people show up the guy realizes that many people in this group are married, out of the age range of the group, or church staff.

The church guest enjoys the food prepared for this night of fellowship but after the food is ready, the church guest then sits alone for 15 minutes.  The regular members of the bible study are running around doing some kind of project for the church… who knows? The church guest is tired of this wait, even contemplates leaving, but as a person who understands leadership decides takes some initiative. The church guest reaches for a game of Munchkins and sets it up. The person wins the game that night but leaves wondering a couple questions. Why is no one interested in talking to this church guest or finding what he is about?Did they know I was a believer? Why did he come here? Where are the girls at?


Frustrations

This church guest is frustrated about being a leader sitting back and watching this night unfold. He is conflicted about how to love the church well when the groups he visit do not “go and make disciples” or even try to show love towards people when such things are called for by our Lord Jesus.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35

The church guest decides that it is difficult for people to be Christian. The ability to have great hospitality in all regards (welcome, food, inquiry, goodbyes) is sometimes foreign to many and against flesh for the most part. A second chance might help turn his mindset around? We will see.

Offering unspoken Second Chances?

The person gives the bible study another chance. It was an off week maybe? The church guest returns and nobody remembers his name. They are teaching topically on Phileo love yet side tracks to Agape love. The group started in 1 Samuel 18 about David and Jonathan’s unique relationship. This is exciting since its a perfect imagery of what is Phileo type love should look like.  They say things like how people need to “walk the talk” loving enemies, and other christian values. They talk well but where knowledge puffs up.They move to talking about how Jesus wants that kind of love towards him. The conversation sidetracks to how difficult it is to love your enemies.

Now I have lost heart…

The fear of loving their enemies blindsided the church guest. The church quest gives his little bit of insight about the phileo kind of love: Jesus still poured out on disciples, even knowing one would betray him. To be honest the Church guest wanted to say something that should shake them to their core, to move them to working out their faith with fear and trembling. The church guest is someone that came to visit and see what the church had to offer. If your group can not even welcome and pursue a new church quest then you will definitely not be able to show love anywhere. The session ends shortly after and the visitor decides he won’t come back.

Does it move you?

I understand that I am being pretty critical of fellow believers in this. I even admit that I feel conflicted to go to a church group to purposely meet girls but end up with a critique of the group.  The thing is I went to another building to experience exactly what was already happening in the building I attended Sunday. Our Church is united on some purpose but I hope it changes to be more passionate like seen in…

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers – Acts 16:5

Personally I’d like to try harder and harder to bridge and stop these frustrations in my own power but have to rely on the church doing their part as well. This church guest concept I think is something we should be ready for and drive to not fail. THIS IS HAPPENING EVERYDAY IN ALL OF OUR CHURCHES…What are we doing about it?

Unbelief in a Christian

Unbelief is a reality of our walk… too many are afraid to admit that.

Many people that have walked into or even grew up in the church know the amount of advice that follows becoming Christian these basic guidelines: Read the Bible(maybe even a suggestion of the gospels first), get an accountability partner, memorize verses, serve in some capacity, repent, pray the Sinner’s prayer, get baptized and most importantly to go and tell others about Christ. The advice seems overused and ends up with people just feeling like they are in unbelief.

The person can try as hard as they like following all of this advice but still can’t seem to find that same passion about the apostles they read about in the bible… and this frustrates them. The person might get caught in fulfillment by the moralistic living and feel confused by feeling saved by works more than grace…. and this frustrates them… Many might even go to walk and talk with a pastor constantly trying to figure it all out…. and this frustrates them. They look at scripture like the following…


23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” -Mark 9:23-24

… and they pray and want to believe more taking inspiration from it. These people desperately want the reality that Christianity seems to offer but can not grasp it. The amount of unbelief in their life gets them to only look like try hards. Some of these try hards even realize that maybe they just are not enough. This might end up in a period of wandering before returning to Christ. Defeat might come where they entirely give up. The being a “good” Christian seems hard and ends in self-loathing. Nothing seems to help in their unbelief.

Simply enough, I can tell you I am one of those Christian try hards. After first arriving on the church scene I took MercyMe lyrics as a life anthem and “pushed every hindrance aside, out of my way, cause I want to know [God] more.” All the advice from every leader, church goer, peer I came across was immediately put into effect. The initial advice is great and helpful. The level of unbelief does not help when we become so well fitted into the local church body that 1 Corinthians talks about. We start to fit in and feel like we only joined another social group. This didn’t confirm my unbelief in Christ as I wrestled daily with scriptures and lifestyle.

I’ve felt that for the longest of times that my faith has held on by this sliver of hope in Jesus Christ which was enough for many circumstances. I felt like going to seminary will fix my unbelief. I even remember one peer that adamantly stated that any level of doubt is blasphemy … and that is why we are uncomfortable talking about our unbelief. The unbelief that has us asking God at the end of day thought about things such as:


  • Why are so many of the believers around me okay with just mediocre lives? Where are the stories like Stephen? the Apostles like Paul or Peter?
  • How do I date as a Christian? What does it really mean to Pursue her? What does it mean to stay pure? (Male advice is almost non-existent, even Wild at Heart gives advice that seems alright?)
  • Why do so many Christians around me get married and settle for a “Christianized” American Dream?
  • Where is the passion we read in the bible  in the Church body around us today? or are we some kind of shell of what the Church should be?
  • What are there so many things we fail to do so as Christians?
  • Why do so many churches love to get built up in knowledge of the word and hardly practice it? Is this what we really feel is Church is suppose to be now?
  • Is it alright to be skeptical of all churches you visit?
  • Why do we just bash other churches in the area when we are called to love the Church of Christ? Even if we have denominational minute difference?
  • Is there really persecution of the Church in America?
  • What does it really look like to be a disciple of Christ?
  • and many more…

 Whenever we asked for advice from peers and leaders and still get the same suggestions to pray more… we get frustrated. This isn’t a blog to diminish the power of prayer, or the relationship to God with Prayer. The honest truth is I feel like a believer in spite of these frustrations. We know what will fix us, we have been buried in our bibles, we have read the scriptures and we believe in them and pray to God through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus. Amen! We are similar to this father in the Gospel of Mark with a shocking amount of belief and unbelief and boldly exclaims it to Jesus himself.

Sadly, This blog is not meant to give a definite answer on these things that frustrate us or give us a great answer for our unbelief. As much as I’d like to answer these I am still maturing myself. This is the discussion where too many people tend to thread lightly because of what their peers will think of their faith or be marked as an unbeliever for their doubts.  My initial fear of ever starting this blog was that I would be accused of not loving the Church, being too skeptical of new/old believers(who still wrestle with sin), or even re-evaluated as a leader of youth and peers at my local church. I feel there is a chance for fellowship and worship to God through this blog. This blog  aims to opens this discussion by really asking and seeking for these answers.