"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."
Philippians 3: 7-9
In Philippians 3 we read Paul’s list of successes and accomplishments in life. He came from the right country, city, nationality, tribe, school, and reputation. Can we just say, he got an A+ on all of his life? Now if we take a close look, we see that he was a persecutor of Christians and a part of a group seeking to wipe them out. But even that lifestyle was an effort to do the right thing.
His personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus radically changed his life. (Acts 9:1-18) So much so, that he called that list of successes and accomplishments as loss. He came to know that any righteousness gained from following the law was nothing. It was and is only the righteousness of God that comes through faith that counts for anything. Only Jesus can meet the standard of perfection. He met that requirement for Paul, you and me.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Would you agree we spend much of life in an effort to measure up by doing and being the right thing? We like to measure up by man’s standards. Let’s face it; we strain on our tiptoes reaching for perfection, acceptance, and enoughness. There is a longing within to be adequate.
Scripture teaches us this only comes through Jesus.
Not that we are adequate (sufficient and qualified) in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.
2 Corinthians 3:5
A childhood memory presses home this point.
Soon after we moved into my new childhood home, my mom taped the measuring stick to the wall in the laundry room. I still remember the feeling of backing up to the “O. W. Jones Hardware” wooden yardstick. I was eager to see how much I had grown since the last measurement. Being the youngest of three always left me feeling an inch too short in many ways. As the marks on the wall inched higher and higher, it seemed to prove I wasn’t the baby anymore, and hopefully I was measuring up in my Daddy’s eyes. I learned that the way to his heart was obeying him and do everything as perfectly as possible. This wasn’t from lack of love and acceptance, but my inborn desire to perform, please and be enough in every way.
You can imagine how this measuring up and striving to do everything perfectly spilled over into my spiritual life. I wanted to back up to God’s wall of rules and laws and check them off perfectly. I must be sufficient, qualified and adequate in every way by my performance. I somehow believed that the more perfect I lived, the more acceptable I was to God--standing on my spiritual tip toes straining to prove this made for a tired and frustrated woman. You may be asking, “How did that work for you?” Honestly, it didn’t work at all because I could never measure up perfectly.
I am so thankful that God revealed the truth that Jesus backed up to a wooden cross and measured up for me.
His payment was more than sufficient and suitable to provide for my adequacy in Him. He met every standard perfectly. This truly is amazing grace.
I can live in my weakness with Him as my strength. I can be less than, because He is greater than. I can fail miserably, because He succeeded greatly. No more need to measure up, just thank God that Jesus measured up for me. Many years later, I am still overwhelmed by this amazing grace. I cannot earn it. I don’t have to perform for it. I don’t deserve it. This grace is who God is. I am acceptable because He laid Himself up against that cross and bled out for me.
Just as Paul’s checklist was changed after His encounter with Jesus, so was mine.
Adequate. Accepted. Sufficient. Enough. Forgiven. Loved.
Go ahead and back up to the cross and smile….”I Am Adequate” because “He Is Adequate”.
“Lord, thank you for your amazing grace that paid for all my sins and makes me completely acceptable to God.”