“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
On one hand, I find this verse comforting. I’m not the only one who seems to make a habit of failing, over and over, again and again. But on the other hand, I find this verse wildly discouraging. No matter how sinless I try to be, the reality is that I’ll fall short every day. The only perfect, sinless, worthy man to ever walk this earth was Jesus himself. He set the perfect example for living a life worthy of God. That’s great, but am I the only one who feels like I’ve been set up for failure?
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Alright. So… our failures and weaknesses serve a greater purpose? That’s comforting, I suppose. But what about the guilt? What about the shame and the feeling of complete and utter worthlessness before the throne of God? Drunkenness, sexual immorality, dishonesty, selfishness, profanity, hatred…all those things can birth feelings strong enough to destroy a person. And yet, the Bible says boast?
Each time I fail, sin, “mess up big-time,” it’s as though I’ve suffered some great tragedy. I feel paralyzed, insecure, worried that my sins and weaknesses will be chucked at my face, further proof that I have no right to proclaim the name of Christ.
But the real tragedy isn’t necessarily that I’ve failed. The real tragedy is that I’ve allowed the enemy to magnify these failures, filling me with guilt and shame and stripping me of my passion to pursue Christ. My guilt keeps me from the cross; it keeps me from meeting God in prayer, lifting Him up in worship, and seeking Him through His word. The enemy uses my guilt to push me toward a wasted life.
And then there’s grace. Grace changes everything. The beauty of grace is that we get it no matter what. Christ isn’t going to nail all your failures and weaknesses up on a wall for everyone to see. Instead, he nailed them to the cross. Everything that made me or you or anyone indebted to wrath…every sinful, drunken, sexually immoral, selfish, dishonest act was destroyed forever on the cross.
When Christ says, “my grace is sufficient,” he isn’t lying. His grace truly does cover everything we’ve done and everything we’ll do. This is by no means an invitation to keep on living a life of sin. Rather, it’s a beautiful reminder that we are loved and cherished and seen by Christ as PURE and BLAMELESS.
Instead of allowing the enemy to drown you in feelings of shame and guilt and worthlessness, point him to the cross. Let every one of your failures be a stark reminder to the enemy that he. lost. Rise above those feelings and rest in the knowledge that God “remembers your sin no more” (Heb. 8:12).