Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Good Enough?

The Run

This morning I got up with plans to run my normal daily 6 miles. But as I was getting ready, I remembered I had to be at work early for our weekly Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting. Because I had forgotten, I didn't wake early enough to give myself time to do both. I had to make a choice, cut the run short or not be there for the kids.

I chose to shorten the run. Instead of the 6 I'd hoped to get in, I managed 3. And somewhat surprisingly, they were 3 hard miles. I just never got into a rhythm, had to make 2 pit stops, and just basically struggled to get through. After last weekend's marathon went so great, and my Monday and Tuesday runs having gone well, it was kind of surprising.

But, as I struggled through the 3 short miles, it dawned on me there was a message here. I might not have reached my goal mileage today, but I didn't just throw in the towel when I saw it wasn't going to happen. I might not have been fast this morning, but I did get the run in. It wasn't anything close to even a comfortable run, but I didn't let that make me quit.

If someone who didn't know me saw me run for the first time today, they would have likely thought I was pretty pathetic. But the simple fact is, we can't be perfect, and we can't even be good at everything all the time. We're going to have off days. We're going to have bad days. We're going to have times we want to quit, and times we wonder if it's all really worth going on.

But as long as we do the best we can, that's all we should demand of ourselves, and anyone else has a right to demand of us. Sometimes circumstances will change. We'll have to adapt, improvise, and overcome obstacles life throws in our way. We just have to make the best we can with what we have, our talents, abilities, and the environment in which we find ourselves.

Today I did just that. I found myself in a position where I couldn't accomplish everything, so I made the most of what I had. So I thank the Good Lord I was able to make it through 3 miles today.

The Message

This week I was talking to a student who told me they felt "inferior" to everyone around them. Struggling in classes and feeling "not good enough" as an athlete, this student couldn't understand why their hard work didn't seem to pay off. But I know this kid, and I know they put their best effort into everything. I know their heart is good. This student isn't out partying or acting a fool. This is a good kid! I know this student is "good enough" and is not "inferior" to anyone.

Today's run reminded me of that conversation. Though my performance today was substandard, I gave it my all. And while that may not be good enough by the world's standards, the world which judges a runner almost by speed alone, it's good enough for God. And His standard is all I really should be worried about.
" 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." -- Colossians 3:23-24

This passage pretty much says it all, give your very best in anything you do. It doesn't matter if it's cleaning your house or working at your job. It doesn't matter if you're a physician or a student. It doesn't matter if you're a master at your trade or a novice. It doesn't matter what it is you're doing, as long as you do it to the best of your ability!

That's God's standard. The world's standard says you have to make lots of money so you can buy name brand clothes, expensive jewelry, fancy cars, and big houses. The world demands you not only succeed, but excel at everything you do if you want its approval. But not God. God wants your best effort. God wants nothing more than the very best you can do.

The world tells you you're a failure unless you have a high GPA so you can make it into a prestigious college. God doesn't care if you get a full ride scholarship to an Ivy League school or if you have to scrape by on student loans at a state college, as long as you try your hardest and do your best. God doesn't care if you have a PhD or work at a gas station, as long as you make your best effort.
"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." -- John 15:19

Unless you put your hope and faith in the things of this world, the material possessions, power, sex, drugs, and alcohol, unless you love the things the world loves, they will despise you. They will judge you. They will tell you you're not good enough, that you're inferior. They will look down on you because you don't have what they value, you don't love what they love. The world can't understand you unless you conform to it.

If you're not as rich as everyone else, if you're not as pretty as everyone else, if you're not as "fun" as everyone else, the world will hate you. But YOU.ARE.NOT.OF.THIS.WORLD. Jesus said it, "You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." When you put your faith and hope in Him, that's all it took for the world to hate you, but it's all it took for Jesus to save you.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:10

You, I, and everyone were created by God to glorify Him and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. To do that, we are set upon this earth to love our neighbor and do good deeds so that others may see the love and hope we have in Christ, so they will thirst for it, and so they will hunger for it. Jesus knows you, He knew you before you were even born, and He knows exactly what opportunities you have in your life to do good. He expects you to do them, but He doesn't expect you to do them perfectly.

He knows what you're capable of. He knows when you're doing all that you can do. He knows if you've given your best effort. And that's all He expects! You are not inferior!

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, Jesus Christ loves you. He wants you, and YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH for Him!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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