How Good is Good Enough?
A few weeks ago my husband, Willy, was talking to a friend. In the course of that conversation, Willy asked him where he thought he would go when he died. Joe looked at him with a bit of puzzlement on his face, and then said, ‘I think I am going to heaven…..because that sure beats the alternative doesn’t it?!’ That statement led to Willy’s next question…‘How are you going to get there?’ Joe responded that he tries to live a good life, be a kind person and help out when he can. He is a nice person.
Hmmmmm….is that the answer – being a nice person?
When I was thinking about what Joe said, I asked myself – how nice is nice enough? How kind is kind enough?
Who holds the measuring stick – and how high is the bar set?
Did I smile enough? Did I respond kindly enough? Did I donate enough? Did I volunteer enough? Did I control my temper enough? Was I a good enough mom? Was I a good enough wife? Was I a good enough friend? Was I good enough… anything?
The dictionary says heaven is:
1. a place regarded in various religions as the abode of God and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky.
2. a state of being eternally in the presence of God after death
Do you know what the game of limbo is? If not, I will try and explain. Limbo is a game of flexibility (in my humble opinion). 2 people hold a long pole/stick between them and everyone lines up to go under it. They start with the pole really high – so every one can go under. But, you have to bend backwards AND can’t touch the pole or the ground. Then the pole gets lowered a little and then a little more and then a little more. You get the picture. The winner is the person who can go under at the lowest point – the most flexible person. 🙂
What if the person holding the limbo stick was God. And, He is the only one who knows how high the stick needed to be for it to be ‘good enough’. Kind enough. Nice enough. Loving enough. Only He didn’t communicate that to you. So, you did your best…..and didn’t even touch the pole or the ground! But, it just wasn’t enough. Does that mean – no heaven for you?
Think about your own life. You are a good person. You don’t steal. You don’t cheat. You rarely gamble. You don’t tell many lies. You are mostly nice to your spouse.
Or maybe you do good things. You donate to great charities. You give money to homeless people. You go overseas to help the poor. You go to church (or mass) every Sunday. Isn’t that enough?
Andy Stanley wrote a book called ‘How Good is Good Enough’. I read that book years ago and it has made a huge impact in my life. What does God use as a measuring stick for a ‘good person’ or ‘good things’? What if it isn’t enough and you fall short? What if you forgot to donate or said 1 curse word? What if you yelled at your kids? Would God say – NO WAY.
You see, God is holy and perfect. He can NOT tolerate any sin – not even one. And that one sin is what separates us. Why did He move Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden? Because they sinned. And that original sin has followed us thru the ages.
Sin disobedience to God. I.e. lying, temper, discontentment, anger, irritation, ungratefulness, coveting, un-forgiveness, pride… I could go on and on.
Fortunately there is another side of the coin – God also loves us. He wants to have a relationship with us. And He knew that we could not bridge the gap between His Holiness and our unholiness all by ourselves. Which is why, 2000 years ago, He sent his own son to earth to bridge that gap for us. He did not give us what we deserve – spiritual death and hell, (and I am so thankful for that). He gave us forgiveness which we receive by faith.
Not what your mom told you, what your friends told you, or what your college professors told you….. but God. Remember the definition above – Heaven is a place where you live with God for all eternity. He holds the keys. It’s his house.
This is what God says – There is only ONE way to get to heaven – that is to acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you need a savior. Jesus Christ is that savior.
Jesus said, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me’. – John 14:6
‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’. – Acts 4:12
Only when our sins are dealt with in Christ can we enter heaven. We can’t pay our own way. God freely offers us forgiveness. Why? Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross – for our behalf. ,You have to accept Him as your Lord and Savior if you want to enter into heaven.
In order to be forgiven of our sins we have to recognize that we sin in the first place and then ask for forgiveness from God. Forgiveness is not automatic.
John 1:9 states ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’.
The gifts of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life are offered to everyone. This gift can’t be worked for, earned, or achieved. It only comes from Christ’s generous sacrifice on your behalf and our acknowledgement of our sins and acceptance of that gift.
Ephesians 2:8 -9 says ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.’ (emphasis mine)
John 14:16 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (emphasis mine)
Jesus died so that those who believe in Him would no longer be condemned to an eternity apart from God. I pray that you will find him – I promise you – your life on Earth will be, maybe not better, but changed in the best way possible.