Thursday, March 30, 2017

Not Good Enough

                                                                  Isaiah 6: 1-8

   I know my last post was about feeling as if we are not good enough, but I felt I left something unsaid. I am not sure exactly what that is, but I am going to blog about it once more. I will attempt to bring it from another angle, maybe a more personal angle. anyway, I hope that it will touch someone that needs it.
   As a young kid, 11,12,13, I remember times when so called Christians, either through their actions, words, or even silence, told me that I was not good enough, that I didn't measure up. I played baseball through the YMCA and the coaches were volunteers from the local church. I used to hang out with the coach's son at school, and one day he came with his dad to practice. It turned out that it was his birthday and he asked his dad if I could come to the party. His dad turned and said loud enough for everyone around to hear, "You can't hang around him, his parents are divorced." I was told that maybe my mother did something wrong, and that we were being punished, that we were not good enough. But, 30 years later when I became a Christian, I found out that wasn't true.

   Humans can be so cruel to each other. Maybe you have been told this in your lifetime, or maybe you still feel this way today. I know I have to keep reminding myself in my daily actions that I am good enough. For some of us, the scars from our younger years still haunt us and affect our individual achievements throughout our lives. We may turn to alcohol, or drugs. We may feel that we are not good enough to ask that girl or boy to the prom. We may feel that we are good enough to finish high school, or go after that job we really want. We don't feel good enough to reach our full potential, and it can even affect our relationship with God.

   In Isaiah 6, we find Isaiah struggling with that problem of not being good enough. Like some of us, Isaiah feels that low self esteem. We might think, "who am I that God might want to use me?" "I am not good enough to share God's message of hope with others." Or, "I am bound to sin and I can't get free." The guilt, the addiction, the shame, or I tried already and failed, whatever it might be separates us from God and prevents that intimate relationship with Him...

   In the first 8 verses of Isaiah chptr. 6, it describes the prophetic vision of Isaiah. He is called to the throne of God, and he is feeling awe and terror. Isaiah is struck with that feeling and realization of unworthiness, and he cries out, "Woe to me, I am ruined, I am a man with unclean lips and live among people with unclean lips. Yet, I have seen the King, the Lord of Heavenly Forces." How many of us would feel terrified to be in the same situation? Would you feel "ruined" if you stood by the throne of God?
   A friend of mine came to me to talk about some things he had done, he was afraid of not being good enough and losing his salvation. I reminded him of all the stories of people coming to Jesus, people who had mad mistakes, people who have done things they regretted and wished they had never done. They had sinned and felt guilt. I reminded him that if they were truly sorry and confessed and asked Jesus to forgive them, that He didn't turn anyone away. I said, if you are truly sorry and asked for forgiveness, Jesus says to you as He did to them, "My child your sins are forgiven, go in peace."

   There is no doubt, we all make mistakes. We all do things we wished we hadn't done. We hurt others, sometimes on accident, sometimes on purpose. When Jesus walked this earth, time after time, He talked to people and invited them into a relationship with Him. Sometimes in these relationships Jesus disturbed the comfortable, and sometimes He comforted the disturbed. But, He related to each one. Then and now, Jesus is the embodiment of Grace.

   God's grace is a weird concept in our world today, where strings are always attached and nothing is free. We as Christians need to realize that one of the greatest gifts we can share in this world today is our belief in salvation by grace, through faith. At the cost of His life, Jesus died to save and redeem you and me. He did all of this so we could be free, free to live, free to love, and free to serve. You know, everyone of us must be very, very important for Jesus to shed His blood for us, and grabbing a hold of that radically changes the way we look at ourselves, and the way we look at our lives.

   Isaiah's vision was meant for people like you and me. God desires a relationship with us. Yes, we are sinners who live among sinners, and we live in sinful times, but God comes to where we are, makes us clean and calls us to serve. Isaiah realizes that he is a sinner in the presence of the Holy God, and the realization hits with overwhelming force. Yet, it is this realization that opens up Isaiah to forgiveness.

   verse 6 says to us that as soon as Isaiah was aware of his sinfulness and confessed to it that one of the winged creatures flew to him with a glowing coal from the alter, held with tongs. Isaiah writes, "he touched my mouth and said, See this has touched you, and your sin is removed." Then, I heard the Lords voice saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" I said, "I am here, send me."
May we respond as Isaiah did...... Amen



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