His Job and My Job

September 13, 2023

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:9 NLT

My mother was a tremendous woman. She loved God with her whole heart and was the purest woman I have ever known. But she was raised in a “law and legalism” environment—all good people, but the wrath of God and the unworthiness of all Adam’s and Eve’s children overshadowed and shaped her self-image spiritually. She had a hard time accepting God’s grace and instead saw her failures.

I thought she was really close to perfect. An evangelist came to our church when I was a young girl. He was apparently a good man, but a “hard and close” preacher (as the older adults called him). He reminded me of a teacher who seemed to get pleasure from correcting and announcing our wrong answers. Maybe he felt the proof of a great teacher was being extremely difficult? As the week went on, I kept discovering more things I should avoid, and the ways I was breaking God’s heart. I sat in disbelief and wonder after one service when I heard my wonderful mother confess through tears, “If I make it to heaven, it will be by the skin of my teeth!”

I was stricken—that couldn’t be true! What was wrong with God? If my nearly perfect mother couldn’t go to heaven, what hope was there for me? Too long of a story to tell today, but God’s grace and mercy found me. It took the peeling away of many levels of truly insecure self-righteousness to get me to the bare truth of Jesus’ love and mercy, but I eventually got there. Until I did, like my mother I spent far too long picturing Jesus looking at me with sorrowful, disappointed eyes. Did you know self-righteous people may be the most insecure people of all? We’re all frantically trying to be good enough for God. We try to confidently assert that we know it for certain, but doubt dogs our steps.

Here’s the mind-blowing, peace-giving, life-giving truth: Making me good enough for heaven is NOT my job. I’m good enough for heaven when I’m good enough for God. I am good enough for God when I realize I can never pay my own debt, so I have accepted the grace, mercy, and forgiveness provided by Jesus. That makes me fit for heaven and a dearly loved child of God.

Does it make me perfect? No. But it makes me right with God, capable of growing and becoming more and more like Jesus every day by following Him. His job is to save me. He’s the only One who can do that. My job is to choose to give Him my life and follow Him. Only I can do that.

  • Jesus, help me realize how foolish my efforts are to do what only You can do—make me good enough. You have done that by paying the debt for my sins. Now help me follow You. I want to follow You all the way to heaven, my home You have prepared for me.