For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So, I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:19-21, NLT)
Friend to Friend
I approach this assignment on an ordinary weekday morning over a cup of coffee. I pull out my favorite journal and write Lies/Condemnation on one side and Truth on the other, and then I draw a black line right down the middle.
The first lie/condemnation comes easily, like a strong wind blowing through me… I’m not good enough.
It’s my signature struggle, the phrase that echoes through my mind most often. When I’ve addressed it in the past I’ve tried a simple counter argument: I am good enough.
This never seems to work. I can say the words but I don’t feel them in my guts and bones. They ring untrue.
On this particular morning I realize suddenly that’s because they are untrue. For me to be “good enough” by my own standards I would have to be perfect. I am not perfect. I never have been. I never will be on this side of eternity.
Shoot. I may need more coffee.
I decide to go digging around in the Word for what else I might write in the Truth column. I find this:
“When I tried to keep the law [[be good enough]], it condemned me. So, I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless” (Galatians 2:19-21).
Paul is writing these words to people who have been trying to be good enough, too. He is telling them what I’ve come to see: that I will never meet the impossible standard of perfection. His answer is not to pat them on the back and tell them they’re nice people anyway. No, his response really comes down to two words…
It seems in that moment the table on which my coffee mug is sitting shakes, the earth tilts sideways, my old perspective shatters. This is the truth that overcomes every word of condemnation I hear inside my heart…
I’m not good enough. But Jesus.
I fall and fail and make mistakes. But Jesus.
I didn’t get everything right today. But Jesus.
What we need is not more “self-esteem”; it’s to fully understand that our hope and identity and security rest only in our Savior, in what He did for us on the cross and through His resurrection, in who He says we are as a new creation.
I fill the lies/condemnation column of my journal. Half the page is covered in black ink by the time I’m done. Yet when I finish there are still only two words on the Truth side: But Jesus.
I know I will go back to this place in my journal. Maybe your life could use a little more peace today, too. What our hearts struggle with may be different, but what rescues us is the same. We are the beloved and this is our hope, our anthem, our heart-shout that rises above the wind within…
Dear Lord, You are the Truth my heart desperately needs. When lies and condemnation ring out, help me listen to Love and believe what You say is true. My identity is found in You. My security rests in You alone. There is power in the name of Jesus, who is the Truth and the Life!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
I encourage you to make your own list today. Write Lies/Condemnation on one side of a sheet of paper and Truth on the other, and then I draw a black line right down the middle. And then? Write down “But Jesus.”
More from the Girlfriends
Holley Gerth is a bestselling author, encourager and life coach who loves empowering women to embrace who they are and become all God created them to be. Her new devotional Hope Your Heart Needs is filled with 52 encouraging reminders of how God cares for you.