I have a friend, that we will call Tennessee Jed. ( This is not his real name, and it is not a reference to my real friend Pittsfield Jed, whom I refer to often) Anyway, I have a friend, and lets call him Tennessee Jed. Tennessee Jed has been struggling. He has had some hardships in his life, but mostly, his is struggling spiritually. He feels that he is “Not Good Enough”, and that he can never be “good enough”. He finds that his struggles with not doing what he may really wants to do, or being who he wants to be make him worthless. So worthless, that God would not ever care to look his way. Some one has convinced him he is not in a so called chosen predestined group of followers, and he does not have any way to salvation. He thinks that he is so worthless, that his friends don’t even need to look his way.
He is a broken man, and I write about him today for two reasons:
If you can and you care to, please lift Tennessee Jed’s name up in prayer.
Second, maybe you struggle with the same thing. TJ (Tennessee Jed), thinks he has to do something to earn God’s love, and the love of others. His was brought up with a errant view of grace and mercy. Sometimes we find ourselves in that same place – wanting to work and prove that we are worthy. Its just doesn’t work that way. Mercy and grace are free gifts, and those gifts move us to work and impact others.
If you find yourself there, check out this from Ephesians 2. Yes, sorry this is long, but as I started reading it this morning, it was so motivating, that I just could not cut it down. I have highlighted key parts for you speed readers.
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
“He himself is our peace” He is the way me escape the beat-down that we give ourselves. If you find yourself in Tennessee Jed’s position, remember, you are right, you would never be good enough, except that grace and mercy are free gifts for everyone. Take it. And find peace, and become good enough for God.
What do you think? I would love your comments.
DISCLAIMER: The is a true story. The names are changed to protect the innocent. And this is not a "I have a friend, but I mean me" story.