Am I Good Enough?



Did you ever watch Jay Leno, the king of Late-Night television for many years?  He periodically ran a segment called “Jaywalking,” in which Jay himself would take to the streets of Los Angeles and ask random people questions.  Some of them are hilarious.  My son and I have watched YouTube videos of these Q&A’s and found many of them to be highly entertaining.  My son’s favorite is the question, “What keeps the earth rotating around the sun?”  The correct (and short) answer is gravity.  One person said it was the earth’s axis.  Another person simply said, “the moon!”


While thinking about these videos we watched, I wondered what people would have said if Jay had asked, “Do you think you’ll go to heaven when you die?”  And if they answered, “Yes,” it would have been interesting for Jay to ask, “Why?”


My guess is that most people who believe they are going to heaven would say it’s because they are good people. They might say they have never broken any laws (does speeding count?), have helped others, tried to keep the Ten Commandments, etc.  Maybe they have a list of rules—biblical or worldly or completely made up—and those have become standards for goodness.


I think about this in the context of being a wife and mother.  Am I good at either?  Maybe some days.  Some days, I feel I am careful with my words. I encourage. I don’t lose my temper. I am productive. I drive carpool, make dinner, do laundry, and when my head hits the pillow, I feel good about how I have cared for my family that day.


Is that “good?”  What IS good?


“Good” is a word that’s a moving target. There are many definitions and there are many applications.


For me, the defining meaning is GOD. The Bible tells us GOD is good.

  • For the Lordis good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation. (Psalm 100:5 NLT)
  • Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good (Psalm 135:3)
  • Taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8)


But perhaps most stunning of all are Jesus’s words, “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone’” (Mark 10:18; italics added).


God is not only good. He is perfect.


If God is the standard of goodness, then all humans will fall short of that standard.  That is not a criticism, that is reality! We are all sinners. We may be made in God’s image, but we are not God.  Therefore, I may, by God’s grace, seek Him, obey Him, love Him, read His Word and even do commendable, benevolent works.  But that does not make me good.


In Matthew 6:33 (NLT), Jesus says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”


When asked what the most important commandment is, Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).


So, Jesus Himself tells us how to live a “good” life.  It is by loving the Lord first and foremost and seeking Him with all of our might by His grace.  To do that, we must trust God above all else. We must spend time with Him, in His Word, because that is how we get to know Him and His will for our lives. He must always be first.


And, dear reader, if you are one of the people that would say, “I’m going to heaven because I am a good person,” please, pray and read the scriptures. None of us is good enough on our own. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8 NIV).


Growing in Grace



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