Nice is Not Good Enough
I once had a very close friend reveal to me that “nice is not good enough.”
This person had gone through a horrible time in their life and they did things they never thought they would do. Shocking things. Things out of character.
They looked me in the eye and said “I never really knew Jesus. I always went to church and tried to be a good person and then this period of my life came along and I went into depression. I was so sad. Then I got angry at the way I was being treated and I felt justified in getting some much needed attention. I was tempted and did things I would never imagine I would do. Being a nice person was not enough to get me through this time.”
What did they need?
A relationship with their Lord and savior.
Chapter 8 in Crazy Love.
Get ready. If you think Pastor Chan has pushed you so far in his book, he is really going to push you in Chapter 8. He is obsessed with Jesus and he thinks all Christians should be.
It will be hard to read.
It always is hard to read when someone makes you feel like you are falling short. When you think you are a Christian and someone makes you think you are a weak Christian at best. When you think you are “nice” and someone makes your feel that “nice is not good enough.”
I have been reading Chapter 8 and I had to stop several times.
I felt so inadequate.
Over and over in my mind I said, I have not done that. I can’t do that. I don’t want to do that.
What is wrong with me?
Why can’t I be like Pastor Francis Chan?
Maybe I don’t let God take over my life the way He wants to. Is it a control thing? Is it an effort on my part to fit it with others? Am I afraid He will ask too much?
Probably all three of these.
I have always felt that I needed some control in my life; don’t you need some too? However, the idea of really having control is a joke. Intellectually, I know that control is a sham. All I have to do is think about what is going on in my life right now. As I write this, a friend of mine is battling a mysterious sickness that is making him very sick. These past few months he has had an accident at work that has damaged his eyesight and an accident at home where he tripped and injured his shoulder. He has had shoulder surgery and now this illness. Related to the shoulder surgery? The doctors don’t know. He has gone from a strong, active man to a very sick man in a few months. I pray for him every day and I am fearful that my prayers for recovery may not be answered. Deep within me is an even stronger fear. This was all out of his control. Things like this may be out of my control too. No one wants to go through this but things happen…things out of our control. Letting go and letting God take over is loss of control
We all desire to be accepted by someone. Maybe you have a close group of friends; maybe you have a family that you love and admire. Maybe you want to be respected and liked at work. What is wrong with that? What happens when God is pulling on you to make a move in your life, a move that is away from the norm? Then a family member feels close enough to you to say something like “you are going off the deep end.” Even a Christian friend in church has the gall to say “are you sure you know what you are doing?” Doubts begin to swirl in your head because there are literally a thousand reasons why you should not obey God. The most compelling one is it would just be easy to say no. The next most compelling one is that I will be more popular with my circle if I just try to fit it.
But God is telling you that “fitting in” is not the most important thing in life.
Thirdly, maybe I am afraid God is going to ask too much. Maybe God is going to indicate that I need to give more of my finances, my talent or my time but I have friends and family who already have dibs on a lot of my time. They expect me to help them but what did Jesus say about family: Matthew 10:37-39 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” That’s pretty clear. The number one priority in a Christian’s life should be God. If God puts it on your heart to do something, you better do it. Maybe you feel you have to have a lot of money to live; after all you have bought a lot of stuff and you have bills to pay. However God is telling you that you don’t need all that stuff. You can get by with less. You can give more of your stuff away to those who are less fortunate; you can learn to live on less money.
What is happening that keeps me from not aspiring to be the Christian that God wants me to be?
I need control.
I need to fit in.
I want to have more than I really need.
Yes, I would have to agree with my close friend. Nice is not good enough. Maybe now that I have confessed some of my many weaknesses, I can read Chapter 8 with an honest heart.