In the midst of season of intense prayer, the woman in front of me suddenly started crying with tears of joy and relief. I asked if she could share what she might have discovered or what the Lord may have revealed to her in this time of conversation with Him that stirred such a response. She simply replied:
“I’m not good.”
I suppose for most of us a profound awareness that “I’m not good” would be a discouraging, even overwhelming truth. Makes me think of the time (recorded in Luke 18) when a “rich, young ruler” approached Jesus and asked Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life.” Jesus looked at the man and responded, “Why do you call me good” No one is good – except God alone.”
The apostle Paul expands upon the statement of Jesus when, in Romans 3, he quotes from Psalm 14: “There is no one who does good, not even one.”
No one is good; no one does good. Well, that paints a pretty bleak picture of hopelessness. So why is the woman in my office so utterly excited and relieved?
Because for her (and hopefully at some point for all of us) was the freedom that comes from knowing that, since there is nothing good in her and she cannot be good, she can stop trying so hard to be good to earn God’s love. It is pointless to keep striving towards a goal she will never be able to reach.
But that did not leave her in hopelessness and despair. Instead, there was a joy in the now-experienced truth that God fully loves and totally accepts her in Jesus, period. Not because of what she’s done (or not done), but solely because of what Jesus did.
This was an incredible burden lifted! So, will she stop doing “good things”? No, not at all. In fact, more “good things” will likely flow from her life as the fear of condemnation has been removed and she no longer feels pushed to do things to earn God’s love – instead, good things will well up from the experience of His love.
Let me share some exciting news with you: You’re not good either!