An F for Effort

Just about everybody thinks they're good enough to at least squeak by into heaven. Put it all on balance, consider how hard they've tried, and God should be able to see they've done the best they could with what they had. They've been worse than some, sure, but better than most. When it's all said and done, if God's being fair, the scales ought to tip their way.

Well, there's the problem. The scales don't tip on the basis of being better than others. God's judgment has nothing at all to do with a person making good choices a certain percentage of the time. "When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12). In fact, they're sadly deceived and mistaken.

If you're pinning your hopes on the outside chance that God operates on a sliding scale, hear what the Bible says: "It is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends" (2 Corinthians 10:18). And the only ones the Lord commends are those who are perfect—or those who've put all their trust in Jesus' ability to stand in for their imperfections.

"Whoever lives and believes in me will never die," Jesus said (John 11:25). Whoever lives and believes in himself will just die trying.

Pray this prayer: Dear God, I know I've been wrong to think I'm good enough to satisfy your high standards. Help me to see that I can never be what you want me to be until Jesus is living in me. 

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