I’m not good at praying out loud.
I’ve never lifted my hands in worship at church.
I don’t know how to correctly use the word “abundant” in a Godly sentence.
I have a hard time remembering everything Moses did, or Joseph did, or even Jesus did.
I’ve never spoken in tongues.
I’ve never healed anyone.
I’ve never baptized anyone.
When Live Original asked me to be an ambassador for the LO sister app, I’ll be honest, I felt completely inadequate.
(I realize you may be thinking the same thing after reading that list above, ha!)
But seriously, do you ever feel this way, too? Like you love Jesus, you truly do; you hunger to know more of God; you lean on the holy spirit to guide your ways… but you see people who are more “Jesus-y” than you, and you feel like you will never attain that.
I went to Louisiana last December for a Live Original retreat. I remember hopping in the van at the airport with a bunch of other girls, and thinking, “How long until they figure me out? How long until they realize that I’m not as godly as them; that I’m a mediocre Christian, and so not worthy of being on this trip.”
On night one, we were all sitting around a campfire and a girl (that I greatly look up to spiritually) pulled me aside to tell me that something I previously said completely convicted her and pushed her closer to Jesus. It stopped me in my tracks, as I thought, wait, did God actually use this mediocre Christian to impact someone more godly than me? I realize now that that question in and of itself is full of false beliefs about God’s heart and Christianity.
Over that Louisiana weekend, God revealed to me four lies that Satan has had me (and maybe you?) believing about salvation.
Lie #1: God likes her more than me.
We’ve all thought this.
That girl in small group who’s super good at praying out loud (how does she remember everyone’s request?!), the friend who has never made a mistake, the woman who can recite scripture cover to cover — doesn’t God find more favor with them?
But Scripture says in Romans 3, “None is righteous, no, not one. … For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We have to stop comparing ourselves to other sinners, when the only standard is Jesus. He is our example of obedience, humility, prayer life and victory over temptation. Other people’s outward godliness is not our measuring stick for godliness. When I stop comparing my holiness to others, and start measuring myself against Jesus, I realize that saying I’m “mediocre” is actually giving myself too much credit.
Do some people know God and His Word better than others? Yes.
Do some obey more? Yes.
Do some have greater faith? Yes.
God gives His people different spiritual gifts to glorify Him and edify the body of Christ. But please believe that there are no levels to Christianity. There’s no destination or finish line on this side of heaven that we can reach and say “ah we’ve made it!” Sister, we’ll never reach it. The girl you think is more godly than you, she’ll never reach it either.
Lie #2: You’ve gotta earn your spot.
I used to say before I got married, that my purity was my most prized possession. I held onto it tightly because I genuinely wanted to honor God. But if I’m being honest, I think it made me feel like I was earning my spot in heaven, too.
Don’t get me wrong, sexual purity absolutely pleases the Lord, but it doesn’t save you.
I can try all day to be more “Jesus-y”. I can wake up early before my kids and read the Bible, I can blast worship music in the car, I can sit front row at church every Sunday, I can even be a LO ambassador… but the Bible is clear that “all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags” to Jesus. (Isaiah 64:6) Nothing we manufacture or manifest secures our salvation.
Authentic faith comes from a heart transformed by the Word and a life lived by the Spirit. Evidence of this will surely show up in our works, but only as an outpouring of our hearts. To think we could earn God’s stamp of approval based on anything we muster up, ignores the purpose of the cross. “If righteousness could be gained through the law (aka obeying the rules), Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21).
There will be people you may think have earned their spot – maybe preachers who have baptized thousands, christian influencers with millions of followers on instagram, or singers who have #1 hits on christian radio — who Jesus will say “I never knew you!” (Matt. 7)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
Lie #3: God calls the equipped.
I know you’ve heard this before, but maybe you’re like me and need a reminder often: God doesn’t call the equipped he equips the called. God‘s very own chosen 12 were average Joes like you and me. John, Peter, Andrew and James were fishermen before they were disciples. Matthew was a tax collector.
Even Moses questioned God’s calling on his life in Exodus, saying to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” But listen to how God answers Moses, “God said, “I will be with you.”
Whatever God has called you to, it is for a divine purpose. God tells us to not fear, for He is with us. He is our God! He promises that He will strengthen us and help us. He is our confidence!
“May the God of peace equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13)
Lie #4: I need to have all the answers to share Jesus.
A couple years ago I was meeting a friend for lunch in San Francisco, who happens to be atheist. A decade of friendship and we’d never really gotten deep about religion before. She was starting her photography business, so I sent her a Jenna Kutcher podcast (famous photographer/business woman) to listen to on her drive into the city.
When she got to the restaurant, the first thing she said was, “Who is Korie Robertson and Jamie Ivey? And why did you have me listen to that podcast?”
Whoops. She clicked on the wrong episode, and listened to the whole thing.
Accident? God knows no such thing.
She spent the entire lunch, and multiple hour long phone conversations later, asking tough questions about God. I wish I could say God used the mistaken podcast, and me as a vessel, to save her eternal life… but He didn’t (YET!)
What God did do is convict me in my self-centeredness for not sharing the gospel with her all the years I could have. I thought I needed more answers first. I told myself, “Once I know a few more Bible stories, or can answer the question ‘why do bad things happen to good people’, THEN I’ll share Jesus with her.”
I was too focused on ME.
We don’t need all of the answers to share the gospel, we just need one answer, and it’s JESUS.
“Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13:11
At the same time, God used my friend’s questioning to give me a deeper desire to know Him and His word better, so that I would “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15
When I started my ambassadorship with Live Original, I was afraid that God couldn’t use me to influence others. But now I realize that through this entire experience, I am the one God wanted to influence. MY heart was the one that needed work.
I came home from our camp out in Louisiana a completely changed person, with a renewed mind and transformed heart for Christ. A few weeks ago, my husband, Griffen, told me that HE felt like HE was a changed person ever since I went to Louisiana. Dang, God is good!
Satan wants us to feel inadequate. And the truth is, WE ARE. John 15:5 is my favorite Bible verse, and it says that “apart from Me you can do nothing.” When we finally let go of these four lies, and the false belief that there is some gold standard of a Christian that humans can and should achieve, we allow God to do His work in us. Sister, don’t fall for the lies. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Madison is a 6’ 2” mama of three littles (4, 2 & newborn!), living in Bloomington, IN with her college sweetheart hubby, Griffen. When she is not working full-time for a leading tech company – she is baking her signature chocolate chip cookies and getting real with teenagers in her living room. Madison is a tall girl with a tall dream to make a difference for the Kingdom through the lives of young women. Madison is also an ambassador on the LO sister app!
Follow Madison on Insta @themidwestskinny