My “Good” Wasn’t Good Enough

Like many of you, I grew up in a Christian home and from the time my parents could put me in nursery, I was at church. Born and raised, you might say.

I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world and I think that is largely in part because I didn’t know any better. Every time the church doors were open, I was there. Quite simply, I really love the church. That’s a miracle.

However, I grew up believing a really big lie.

I grew up believing I didn’t have a worthwhile testimony to share. That even if I did share my testimony, it would fall on deaf ears. That it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to those I was sharing it with.

The fact is:

I did grow up in church.

I pretended (and looked) to have it all together.

I do come from a stable, loving home and family, though we’re as messed up and crazy as they come.

I was the teacher’s pet.

I attempted to follow all the rules. (That only works for so long.)

I liked looking like I had it all together. That is safe. That is not vulnerable. Hurt doesn’t happen when you fake it.

I have deep desires of my heart that have yet to be met.

I do have trials, hardships and life experiences to share.

I have not been given everything I’ve ever wanted and my life is not peaches and cream. Blessed, yes.

I’ve lied. I’ve gravely sinned. I’ve lusted. I’ve been angry. I’ve gossiped. I’m insecure. I’m helpless. I’m needy. And the list goes on and on.

I do have a testimony. I know my sins. I know my shortcomings. I need Jesus.

My attempt at holiness was lame to say the least. My attempt at producing any good in me to cover up the dark was helpless. My good was simply not good enough, though I desperately wanted it to be.

I don’t want to point fingers or blame any one person or thing, but I think we as a church have done a less than stellar job at portraying what a worthwhile testimony is. A testimony, as we have so endearingly coined it, is simply a public confession regarding the ways Jesus has changed your life.

My sins, no matter how big or small they may seem, still sent Jesus to the cross. My attempt at living a charmed life was feeble and frail.

Our testimony is what makes us authentic. Real. Relatable.

The truth is, everyone has gone through something that has changed him or her. If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savor, you well know that the old has gone and the new has come. You are a new creation. You’ve changed. Whatever it was that brought you to repentance in the first place, is the very thing worth sharing. Whatever it was that was once holding you captive that no longer has a hold on you, that’s worth sharing.

Need I list the things that hold us captive?

Legalism. Sexual Sin. Drugs. Addictions. Alcohol. Perfectionism. Insecurity. Lust. Greed. Jealousy. Hate. Pride. We could go on and on as this is clearly not an exhaustive list.

Where we as a church have strayed is that we glorify the big testimonies. We glorify the folks on the platform that have sinned “big”. We glorify the stories that seemed absolutely hopeless, but ended in victory.

Can I say something? Salvation through Jesus Christ is a miracle, regardless of where you have or have not been. It’s still a faith walk for every individual.

We were all hopeless. We all have victory in the end when we choose Jesus over _____________. (You fill in the blank.)

You, if you are in Christ, have something to offer. You have hope to offer.

If you’ve grown up in the church, don’t believe the lie you have nothing to share. First, yes you do.  If you are a living, breathing human, you’re flawed and need Jesus. Own up to that! But for you, maybe what someone needs to hear is that your good, despite all your failed efforts, wasn’t good enough to make it into the kingdom of heaven. There is one way, and His name is Jesus. You may be a really good, nice, sweet, charming, never-hurt-a-fly kind of person, but good doesn’t get you into Heaven. Jesus does.

To my young friends, don’t go looking for way to mess up so you have a story to share.

Share your story of less-than-perfect faithfulness to a God that has been nothing but perfectly faithful and loving towards you, despite your efforts of trying so hard. Share that even your goodness wasn’t good enough. Therefore, the good kid who has the works thing down, if they can’t do it, who can? That, my friends, is the gospel.

We’re justified by faith alone in Christ.

All sin keeps us from God. It keeps us bound up.

It just goes to show that there is no one good, no, not one. Can we emphasize that? Though from the outside it may appear I have little to confess day in and day out, that’s far from the truth. I lay my head on my pillow each night knowing how dearly loved I am in Christ, yet painfully aware of my shortcomings. Painfully aware of the areas that only Christ can change in me. Painfully aware of my ugliness.

Do we need the stories of God’s dramatic salvation and redemption? Absolutely! Do we keep sharing those and telling of how God has transformed our lives? Yes and amen! Do we continue to put them on the platform? By all means! May we all come humbly. Those stories also tell us that no one has out-sinned God, not matter how much they think they have! We need not be shocked or judgmental of anything or anyone. We should extend grace and love.

It reminds me of the Prodigal Son. One son did everything right (false) while the other was out doing everything wrong and yet they still needed the same grace. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all more like the elder brother than we care to admit.

But let us be aware of the girl or boy that feels worthless because they didn’t have a Saul-to-Paul conversion.

My goal isn’t to deny what Christ has done for you and where He alone has brought you and rescued you from. Nor is my goal to magnify how good you’ve been. My goal is to glorify Christ.

Conversion is conversion regardless of the pits we’ve been in.

Salvation is salvation regardless of how we’ve acted.

God’s redemption is for everyone.

And His story is good enough to be told throughout the ages.

We were all lost. For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) But Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) Translation = That’s US. That’s enough. That’s radical.

For the one who has served time in prison, been released and feels called to minister to those in prison. Yes! Go! Share that the same grace and mercy that was offered to you, is offered to everyone. In the name of Jesus.

For the girl who’s had an abortion and feels called to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. To you I say go! In the name of Jesus.

For the person (girl or guy) who’s struggled with any type of sexual sin, has broken free, and feels called to minister out of that. Yes! Do it! In the name of Jesus. So that He would get the credit. So that the weight of life change would fall on His shoulders, not yours.

You are redeemed! God delights when anyone comes to faith in Him through Jesus.

Each of our redemption stories minister to different people all over. Not one of our stories will minister to everyone, that’s why we’re the body of Christ. We all have different experiences and stories to share, but the same Jesus.

Putting pressure on the story makes it about you. Putting pressure on the gospel makes it about Jesus

That’s your story. You were once dead and now you’re alive. And that is worth sharing, Sister.

Amen.

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138 Responses to “My “Good” Wasn’t Good Enough”

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Comments:

  1. 101
    Debbie Williamson says:

    for 7-1-15
    Jones Creek,Texas

    In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
    for you will answer me.

    Psalm 86:7

  2. 102
    Emily says:

    Very well said! Thank you for sharing. :) I relate so much to your life story.

  3. 103
    Dee Remick says:

    Oh honey….everyone has a testimony. God delivered me in big ways, from a horrible life. I’ve had people tell me the same thing as you, that they grew up believing God & don’t have a testimony. It’s heartbreaking. Just because you were raised someone was raised in a believing household doesn’t mean they have no testimony. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, that we don’t remember when we gave our lives to the LORD because we were always His. I’m so glad the LORD uncovered that lie & you were set free!!! :)

  4. 104
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    True words Lindsee girl.

  5. 105
    Beth, Lake Jackson, TX says:

    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope (Romans 8:20 NIV)

  6. 106
    Keith says:

    A similar thing happens with non-believers. They hear the incredible testimony stories and think that the person who was rescued from some drastic situation really needed that, but then they think that their lives aren’t so bad, so why would they need religion (or Christ).

  7. 107
    kelly says:

    Thank you, I always thought I didn’t have a testimony, I do!! God bless

  8. 108
    Susan says:

    Thank you for penning this so well and reminding us who have felt like we didn’t have much of a life-changing testimony. Praise Him! We do! Blessings.

  9. 109
    Mimi G-Marianna, FL says:

    Ps. 131 ESV

    O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with it’s mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

  10. 110
    Jennifer says:

    Really enjoyed this post. Felt like I was reading my life story. Great reminder that we all have a story to tell. Thanks for sharing.

  11. 111

    Personally, I always hated sharing my story, cause even after accepting Christ as my savior I’ve struggled with all the same stuff I struggled with before. By all outside appearances it would seem Jesus has made very little difference in my life. Those who knew me before I came to Christ might say differently, but I still struggle with alcohol. I still struggle with depression and anxiety. I would say really, the only change is that I struggle with it, rather than just always letting it completely take over and doing whatever those issues tell me to do. Before if I felt like drinking, I just did whatever I had to do to get that drink in me. There was no question. I didn’t even try to resist those urges. Now I do, and sometimes I fail, like I failed 2 weeks ago to not drink for one more day, but now, again, for 15 days I haven’t had to pick up a drink. Wanted to. But didn’t. Still struggled with all the emotional stuff that I normally struggle with plus the emotional withdrawals from alcohol. It was only one bottle, but it might as well have been 20, cause I have gone through all the emotional craziness that I went through after my 3 week binge back in November and December. It’s been hard and I’m still scared I’m not going to be able to stay sober, but I guess, at least, I even bother to stop and keep trying. I don’t know if that’s a testimony or not. I had a friend tell me it spoke volumes to her when I drank again after 6 months of sobriety and everyone celebrating me and giving me gifts and the whole works, that I had enough humility and honesty to pick myself back up again, walk back into the rooms and admit to those same people celebrating me the week before that I messed up again.

  12. 112
    Laura says:

    Yes and amen, thank you for sharing! I needed this reminder today.

  13. 113
    Marisa says:

    Marisa, Michigan

    John 15:13
    …the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.

  14. 114
    Jen Lee says:

    Jen Lee, Ames, Iowa: “The one who has contempt for instruction will pay the penalty, but the one who respects a command will be rewarded. A wise man’s instruction is a fountain of life, turning people away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 13:13-14 (Holman)

  15. 115
    Paola says:

    Paola, Pinellas Park, Fl.

    Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    James 4:7 NIV

  16. 116
    Robin Lamont says:

    Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. NIV

    Robin, Oak Harbor, WA

  17. 117
    Robin Lamont says:

    HOpe this gets to the SSMT page. Shall I repost it?

  18. 118
    Suzie DeVaughn says:

    O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine!
    Psalm 119:97&98 NSAB

  19. 119
    Morgan Mims says:

    Wow! That is so true! God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Whatever it is that we have done, been through, or are currently facing, God allows us the chance to use it for His glory. No matter the testimony, we are all sinners in need of a savior. When we come to know Jesus, we all go from darkness to light.

    Don’t ever rob God of the glory He is doing in you or your families life by not hating because you feel your testimony is minimal compared to someone else’s. He is weaving you to fit His image just like anyone else.

    God bless sisters!

  20. 120
    Denise says:

    So glad you wrote about this. We all have the wonderful testimony that we have been saved by grace.

  21. 121
    Sarah Hunt says:

    Did I write the first half of this? I must have written it in my sleep. That’s me, to a T. Thanks for this.

  22. 122
    Cyndy says:

    “If you’ve grown up in the church, don’t believe the lie you have nothing to share. First, yes you do. If you are a living, breathing human, you’re flawed and need Jesus. Own up to that! But for you, maybe what someone needs to hear is that your good, despite all your failed efforts, wasn’t good enough to make it into the kingdom of heaven. There is one way, and His name is Jesus. You may be a really good, nice, sweet, charming, never-hurt-a-fly kind of person, but good doesn’t get you into Heaven. Jesus does.”

    Those are powerful words, Lindsee Lou. Thank you for sharing them!!

  23. 123
    Joy says:

    Preach girl!

    Felt bound by the same reality… every testimony has value because it’s always about the saving One, not the saved one.

  24. 124
    Kendra says:

    Preach it, sister! The Lord has been reminding me lately of how important it is to preach the gospel to myself, daily. May I never forget how desperately in need I am of His grace and Salvation! Thankful His mercies are new every morning. Thanks for this post Lindsee. You blessed me today sister!

  25. 125
    Jerri ann says:

    I am one of those with the “really big” testimonies. I can tell you from my heart that it is a testimony like yours that I stand in the gap for, for my own family. I would rather they have an opportunity to walk with God their entire lives, than walk without Him and get into big trouble.

    It is the testimony of a friend, who tells of the generations in her family that have walk faithfully with Jesus and there are preachers, teachers and missionaries all throughout her family’s history. But even with that she tells of her heart that still needed the saving grace of Jesus.

    That is what I stand in the gap for. That is a testimony that inspires me and gives me hope. I want my children’s children to know God and walk with Him daily. All the days of their lives. For there to be teachers, preachers and missionaries that look back and say my great great grandmother stood up and fought the good fight and we are living proof that God is alive, as we walk out a legacy of faith in the One and Only Jesus. That is my prayer and the way I see it, all the saints that have this history are the leaders and only a few steps ahead of where I am going.

    Hope none of this sounded critical because from the depths of my heart it isn’t meant to. Thank you for your testimony. Keep on giving it, because it gives life to those who are standing in the gap against generational curses. God works in mighty ways through the real stories of real people just trying to get to where they are going.

  26. 126
    Annalee says:

    Yes, oh yes. Such truth and powerful reminders. Thank you friend!

  27. 127
    Nat says:

    Great post Lindsee, I wrote about the very same thing over on my blog a couple months back! Great reminder!

  28. 128
    Andrea says:

    I was cleaning out my email this morning and unsubscribing to some of those I haven’t taken the time to read. I just happened to click on this particular email with the intention of unsubscribing. As I started to read it, it was like reading my very own story. Amazing how God used cleaning out my email to bring me to this particular email. I’m struggling with a lot of things right now and feeling lower than I ever have before. Prayers would be appreciated by anyone. Thank you

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