You Are Not Enough
MEGHAN MELLINGER , Crosswalk.com
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
A friend told me the other day that I’m highly favored and loved by God.
I didn’t believe it.
Me? Highly favored? My life is like an amusement park ride — sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down, sometimes a screw pops out of something important, and someone’s putting up caution tape. The only consistency for me is always being stressed, sleepy and hungry.
The things I know I need to do? I haven’t done them.
The things I know I shouldn’t do? I’ve done them all.
No matter how hard I try or how many social media tutorials I’ve watched, my performance always falls short.
Why would a perfect God love someone so imperfect?
Because God is love.
Which makes these famous scriptures on the topic of love a clear snapshot of our God:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
We’ve perhaps heard this passage at weddings and seen it crocheted on pillows, but it changes the game when we think of God this way, doesn’t it?
Because Jesus lived and loved perfectly, God loves His people without conditions or a checklist to satisfy. He’s not keeping score or holding a grudge against His children. His love is perfect. And it’s free. The price for it has already been paid in full by Jesus on the cross, and we don’t have to perform perfectly to earn it.
This is a perfect love from a perfect God, given as a gift to imperfect people.
Seems too good to be true, right? It’s hard for us to believe this because the version of love we see every day is conditional. It’s a love based off of the numbers on the scale or the numbers in our bank accounts. Swipe left or swipe right — if you don’t measure up, you’re not worthy. If you don’t get the grades or the job, you’re not enough.
The truth is: We are not enough.
The good news is: We were never meant to be.
This means we are free — free from our fears, our obsession with performance, our unrealistic expectations.
We will always fall short, but God isn’t keeping a tally of every mishap and slip-up to condemn His people. He offers forgiveness. God doesn’t need our performance — He wants our surrender. He wants us to give up trying to earn our worth and instead believe what is unfair and undeserved:
A Prayer for the Mind of Christ
By Jessica Van Roekel, crosswalk.com
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests but also to others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:3-7, ESV)
I’m talented at imagining worst-case scenarios. I see frowns and imagine they are directed at me, and then spend far too much time wondering what I did to cause it. If I ask someone if something’s wrong and they say nothing, I struggle to believe them. It’s easy to imagine offense, and when I spend too much time dwelling on thoughts like these, I get stuck in a me versus them cycle.
Living life on the defense can be a self-focused way of living. Boundaries are one thing, but constructing thoughts that build walls between other people and us are dangerous. They keep people out, and we stand alert, waiting for an attack. This defensive stance leads to imagined offenses—on our part for wondering what we did wrong and for interpreting another person’s actions and words through the lens of “they’re out to get me.”
Jesus is our great example in so many ways. One of the areas where we can learn the most is his demonstration of humility and meekness. Humility is not thinking of ourselves in a high or debased way. It is understanding that our strengths and gifts come from God, and we owe all of them to him. Humility allows us to assert that we are the object of undeserved redeeming love, and without God, we have nothing. We are not our own, but God’s through Jesus Christ. This is having the mindset of Christ.
When we view other people through this humble lens, our defenses lower, and our worries about offenses cease. We’re able to lay aside the worst-case imaginations of “What did I do wrong?” and “Why do they react to me that way?” This mindset allows us to consider others better than ourselves because we’re secure in who we are in Christ. We’re able to lay aside the petty selfishness that grows from self-protection and choose to serve one another with a generous heart.
Jesus served the people around him. He taught his disciples, he healed many, and he brought people to life. His final emptying came when he allowed himself to be beaten and hung on a cross to die. He stayed silent when the court flung accusations against him. He refused to play Herod’s game when Herod demanded signs to prove who he was. All for you and for me.
In Jesus’ own words, he said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, NIV). We can live this example when we put someone’s needs or wants before our own. Love inconveniences itself. Serving others and having the mindset of Christ means we will experience disruptions where we can practice servanthood. It will mean that we think the best of others instead of the worst.
The mindset of Christ helps us lay aside our worst-case scenarios and view other people through the lens of humility so we can discover the power of God at work in them and us.
The Darkest Thought
By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” – Proverbs 28:26 NLT
The darkest thought. The one that wants us to give up, stop trying and throw in the towel. The darkest thought will try to convince us we cannot live like this anymore. It will hold us hostage in sleep when we would normally wake and hostage awake when we would normally sleep. The darkest thought plagues us, pricking at our thin skin and picking open fresh wounds. There are days we don’t want to do life; it’s as simple as that. The enemy comes for all of us, one time or another, with a dark proposition. See it for the lie it is. And seek the help which surrounds us via counselors and medical professionals to help us heal when our nervous systems have broken down.
Life peels back like layers as we grow closer to God. As we become familiar with His voice, the darkest thought loses its volume. The Creator of the Universe assures us we are here for a reason, each one of us. He knew us before we were born. We are living the greatest love story of all time, in which He sent His only Son to save us. He will never leave us. We are never alone. He understands and meets us where we are at. No unmet expectations or disappointed glances …just unconditional, accepting, sacrificial, unfailing love. The loveliest thought.
What Are We Thinking?
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23 NLT
This means more than just the actual organ beating inside of our chests. Often when the heart is mentioned, it represents the central seat of all we are, including our conscience, wisdom, will, and emotions. The Hebrew translation, in this case, and many others in the Old Testament, define the heart as “inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding; seat of courage.” The details further define it as the inner part, midst; heart, soul, mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination (of will), conscience, heart (of moral character), as seat of appetites, as seat of emotions and passions.” That’s an all-encompassing definition of what the writer of Proverbs is trying to convey by using the terminology, “guard your heart!”
Literally, we are to guard our innermost being, will, heart, understanding, soul, mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination, conscience, moral character, appetite, emotions, and passions! “Guard your heart above all else,” Solomon wrote, “for it determines the course of your life.” Solomon was renowned as the wisest man on earth! He was King David’s son. He had everything he could have ever wanted in life and knew it meant nothing if the heart was tainted and unguarded.
Guarding our hearts means taking the thoughts we notice and making them obedient to the Word of God. If a thought doesn’t line up …we don’t have to continue thinking about it! “It is the mind’s natural tendency to drift restlessly from one thought to another, moving between memories, imaginings, goals, and plans,” Leigh W. Jerome, Ph. D., wrote for pyscology.com, “the average person has about 6.5 thoughts per minute, or about 6, 200 thought per day (Tseng & Popping, 2020).” Though we cannot control every thought which comes into our minds, we surely have control over them when we notice them. By the power of Christ Jesus in us, we have the power to hold our thoughts captive to the Truth of God. In other words, we have power and authority in Christ Jesus to guard our hearts …above all else.
“…for it determines the course of your life.” The darkest thought of taking life into our own hands and removing it from the face of the earth most certainly determines the course of our lives. This thought is important to hold captive to the Truth of God and get it out of our minds as quickly and efficiently as possible. Declaring, in the name of Christ Jesus, the darkest thought has no power over us. The darkest thought is a lie. A seemingly easy way out but a tragic loss for all who border that life here on earth. This, coupled with seeking professional counsel for the medical healing our nerves and minds sometimes need, leads us back to literal life.