When Our Best isn’t Good Enough

Peter blurted out, “Even if everyone else is ashamed of you when things fall to pieces, I won’t be.”
Jesus said, “Don’t be so sure. Today, this very night in fact, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
He blustered in protest, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” All the others said the same thing.
Mark 14:29-31, The Message*

Jesus has been preparing His disciples for what’s ahead, but it’s too much for them to grasp. Except for the traitor, their intentions are the best – but Jesus knows that won’t be enough. He knows how each one will fail.

He knows the same thing about each of us, and I’m so glad we have this example to keep us from despairing when we mess up.

Instead of condemning Peter – and us – Jesus takes on our unrighteousness so that we can find His righteousness in us. Pastor and teacher Charles Price says this is the heart of the gospel: “Salvation is primarily from unrighteousness to righteousness.”**

There’s nothing in me – in you – that’s worth much, but Christ in us is our hope of glory. He wants to grow us into His image, to direct and equip us to live worthy of His Name.

When I fail, He doesn’t turn me away. He just picks me up again and goes on working with me. I think it was The Shack that suggested God, instead of being put off when someone rejected Him again, counted it as one less rejection left until the person finally chose right. What a comforting perspective.

As the Apostle Paul would say, that doesn’t mean we should be slack and keep going our own ways. But if we’re doing our best and it’s not enough, we can rejoice that God isn’t finished with us yet.

Father God, You are holy and we worship You. Because You love us so much, we want to please You by living righteous lives. Thank You so much for the Holy Spirit who helps us, and for Your patience and mercy to forgive us and to continue the work You’ve started in each of our lives.

Our song this week can encourage us all: Brandon Heath’s “Wait and See (Not Finished With Me Yet).”

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

**Paul: Moulded by His Message,  Charles Price (Kingsway Publications, 2001) page 116.

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