The bad news: You are not enough.
The good news: Jesus is enough.

Scripture References & Transcript

Jeremiah 17:9

Romans 3:12

Ephesians 2:1-3

Psalm 22:1-11

2 Corinthians 12:9

John 14:16-17

Some of you are gonna have no clue what I’m talking about, but there are those of us in the room that have pencil led visible inside of our hand. Raise your hand if you have a pencil lead somewhere stuck. All right, I see you, I see my people out there. I used to have two of them, so one of ’em. And I know it’s not technically lead anymore. I know now it’s graphite. And yet it sounds weird to say I’ve got pencil graphite stuck in my hand. I have pencil lead stuck in my hand. And it, one of them I was in junior high and I was drawing, and apparently I was drawing really vigorously. And the, the pencil came off the desk and stabbed right into my hand. That’s how I got one of ’em. That one’s no longer visible.

So slowly the skin kind of grew over it. But the other one is still there and I’ve had it since I was about 15 years old. Hey, here’s a picture. It’s kind of hard to see it, but, but it’s that dot right there. You come up afterwards, I can show you right where I was working at a church. I worked in children’s ministry and I was giving a whole line of kids a high five. And so one after the next are just gimme big, high five, big high five big, high five. If you ever have given high fives to a whole group of children, then you will know that what happens is they start to elevate the high five. They think that I’m gonna try to give him the hardest high five out of anybody else that is in this line. Now, what kids don’t realize is it’s probably hurting their hand way more than it’s hurting my hand, but I’m just, I’m just taking it.

I mean, just bam, bam, bam. And then there’s one kid that is in the line. Then when he steps up to give me a high five, he had a pencil in his hand and he took the pencil and he stabbed me in my hand as part of that high five. Very unexpected. All of a sudden, I’m looking down at my hand and it’s bleeding. And I’m like, what just happened? Why, why did you stab me? Child <laugh>? And so we have a conversation with the kid. I wasn’t part of the conversation, but, but my boss had a conversation with the kid afterwards trying to figure out why exactly did you stab him in the hand? And here’s what was interesting. He would admit no fault whatsoever. Not only would he admit no fault when they had a conversation with mom later on, she would admit no fault.

Here’s what they stuck with. They said he was simply giving him a high five. And I would say he was assaulting me with a pencil, is what actually happened. It’s interesting how you can have an experience and depending upon the perspective, radically different interpretations of that experience, he would say, I was giving him a high five. And there’s some truth in that. I mean, there, there’s a shred of truth to the fact that he was giving me a high five. There’s a whole group of kids that were giving me a high five. But I’ll also tell you that ultimately that is completely wrong. That is not what in fact happened. And I would submit that the most seductive lies that exist in our world, the lies that are, are the most easily believed are those that have some truth to them, but are ultimately not true.

I’m gonna step on a little bit of toast here ’cause I’m gonna put up a phrase in just a moment that I want to unpack through the lens of scripture. And it’s a phrase that probably some of you love. Probably you have this phrase on your wall somewhere at home. Maybe you’ve got a coffee mug. Maybe you’ve posted on social media. Maybe you text it to friends regularly. And, and so I, I wanna point out that there is a part of this phrase that is true and great and beautiful, but ultimately when we look at this phrase through a biblical lens, it’s incomplete. And that incompleteness of it can make it really dangerous and unhealthy. The phrase that I’m talking about is the phrase, you are enough. Now, bear with me for a second. ’cause I know some of you’re already like that’s my phrase.

Don’t, don’t hit on my phrase. You are enough. There’s a part of that that sounds beautiful. ’cause There’s a part of that. That’s right. What scripture tells us is that you and I are created in the image of God. Imago day. You have intrinsic value that you are creator instilled inside of you. That the very breath that you are breathing right now is based off of the, the grace and the love of God. And so there’s this part of you are enough in terms of you having value, me having value. That is right. And that is true. The problem is that if we stop there and make it just about me, it misses out on some biblical truth. Let’s look at a few scriptures together in Jeremiah chapter 17, verse nine. It says, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?

We like to say another phrase, comment in our culture. Just follow your heart. Just follow your heart. Whatever makes you happy. And why does just fall your heart ruin so many people’s lives? Why does just fall your heart wreck marriages? Why does just fall your heart? Why can’t it be such a deadly, deadly thing because of this right here? Because sometimes your heart is deceitful. Sometimes your heart is wicked. I can tell you, having young kids, that if I just let them follow their heart and do whatever they wanna do, it would not end well. I’m constantly helping them understand that they can’t just follow their heart and do whatever they want to do. In Romans, this same theme, three 12, it says, all have turned aside together. They have become worthless. No one does good. Not even one, probably something you’re not gonna text your buddy.

We’ve all become worthless and not as encouraging as you are enough. Ephesians chapter two, it says, and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work and the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and were by nature, children of wrath like the rest of mankind, not exactly as warm and fuzzy, but scripture is really clear that we are born into sin. We live in a broken world. The human condition is wrecked. It’s not holy. The God recognizes that by ourselves. We head and lean towards destruction. And that is why God recognized the need for a savior. Now, Simon blocker, who is was a theologian, is a theologian at Westminster.

He passed away about 50 years ago. He once said, man, as he is by nature, is not as he was when God created them. He’s going back to the Garden of Eden that we were created to be enough with God. But he says a vast devastation has struck him. Nevertheless, he is great in his ruins like a glorious cathedral after a bombing, sinful man still displays the grandeur, which was his when he first stood on the earth as created in God’s image. He’s recognizing that yes, there’s worth, there’s value. Don’t get me wrong. There is worth and value in each and every one of us, but we’re broken. And because we’re broken, we are in need of a savior. And so he, here’s, I think, biblically the challenge with that phrase. You are enough that, that you are enough, ultimately puts the burden on me and leads to never ending.

Striving. While the phrase sounds encouraging, it’s ultimate end is exhausting. And that if I feel like I’m supposed to be enough just by myself without God, without anyone else and I don’t feel like I’m enough, what does it lead to? It leads to me striving. Well, I’m not doing something well enough. I’m, I’m not trying hard enough. And so I, I start pursuing that and I start pursuing that. And it ultimately leads to exhaustion. The gospel tells us that we’re not enough. That by ourselves will never be enough. Scripture is actually full of people that clearly demonstrate to us that by ourselves we’re not enough. The Old Testament has a lot of different people that are heroes of faith, and yet all of them are broken. That with the exception of Jesus, we don’t find a character in scripture that doesn’t have a whole lot of flaws.

And when you look at Job in the Old Testament job, 42 chapters of someone dealing with misery and grief and pain and suffering. When you look at David, probably the, the most relatable character in all scripture, all through his Psalms, he’s constantly talking about the struggle that he has, the emotions that he’s dealing with, the fears, the anxieties, the frustrations. Jonah gets angry and runs away from God. Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet multiple times throughout his ministry. He feels all alone by himself. Elijah, after he calls down fire from heaven, he runs away for fear of his life, ends up in the desert. He’s clearly depressed and becomes suicidal. He cries out to God that he wants to die. So scripture is full of humans recognizing in our broken world that we by ourselves are not enough. If you’ve got a Bible, turn with me to the Book of Psalms.

We’re gonna be in Psalm chapter 22. If you don’t have a Bible, you can fall along on the Cherry Hills app. It’ll also be on the screen. Psalm chapter 22, starting in verse one. It says this, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Now, that should sound pretty familiar, especially if you have been to church a lot, because it’s the same phrase that Jesus says, while Jesus is on the cross, that Jesus is actually quoting from David, that Jesus is saying, I am experiencing those same feelings. He, he’s feeling it in a different way than David. But Jesus is relatable. Jesus is saying that David experienced pain and suffering. Jesus experienced pain and suffering at your life. At some point you’ll experience pain and suffering. Jesus can relate to us. David says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me from the words of my groaning?

Oh my God, I cry by day. But you do not answer him by night. But I find no rest. So the first two verses are just what he’s feeling. We don’t know exactly the context of what he’s going through, but we know that in this moment, he feels like God has abandoned him. He feels alone, anxious, angry, fearful. And then in verse three, you see this transition, this word, yet he says, yet you talking about God are holy ent thrown on the praises of Israel? And you, our fathers trusted, they trusted and you delivered them to you. They cried and were rescued in you. They trusted and were not put to shame, right? So then you’ve got these three verses where it starts with him recognizing, here’s what I feel. And then he pauses and steps back and says, but here’s what I know, that he had been taught by his fathers and forefathers.

And he knew from the word of God that God had showed up time and time again that the nation of Israel had been saved over and over and over by God. And so he said, I might be feeling a certain way, but I’m going to trust in God because of the fact that there’s a history that I’ve been told and I’ve read about that shows me I can trust in God, that I should trust in God. Then he goes on in verse six to say, but I’m a worm and not a man scorned by mankind, despised by the people all who see me mock me. They make mouths at me. They wag their heads. He trusts in the world, in the Lord. Let him deliver him. Let him rescue him for he delights in him. That’s in quotations ’cause He’s saying that this is what other people are mocking him with.

These other people are mocking him by, by telling David he trusts in the Lord. Let him deliver him. Let him rescue him for you to delight in him. Verse nine. Yet you are he who took me from the womb. You made me trust in you at my mother’s breasts on you was I cast from my birth and from my mother’s womb. You have been, my God, be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help. It’s an interesting passage because of the way that it flows. It starts with this idea of, God, here’s what I feel. My God, my God, why have you forsaken? And then it transitions to this moment where he’s saying, but I, I can trust because I have a history. I’ve been told I’ve got scriptures that there’s a tangible reason why I should trust God.

And it goes back to, but I’m a worm, goes back to his feelings. But, but here’s the struggle. Here’s where I am. Here’s what I’m dealing with. And then ultimately it becomes personal for him. But I can trust. And the reason I can trust is because I have a history. I can look at the things in my life that God has supplied me with, comforted me with, and lean on those things. See, to, to kind of sum it up. We see this pattern throughout all the Psalms of David that throughout the Psalms, David demonstrates the tension between his feelings and his beliefs. He’s feeling hopeless and abandoned. And then there’s that same word we see in scripture, yet he chooses to trust. That’s really hard though. It’s hard sometimes when we have certain feelings to look past those feelings and continue to trust why. I think there’s two really big things that make it a challenge to trust in God.

Those two things that make it difficult, that get in the way of trusting God are our feelings and our fears. Now first, let me go ahead and validate the feelings that you feel when you feel a feeling. It’s a real feeling. You don’t get angry on accident. You don’t get sad on accident. The worst thing that you can do to somebody when they have an emotion is tell ’em to stop having that emotion. Probably if you have kids that at some point your kid has been angry, and there’s a temptation that we have when someone is angry and for whatever reason, even more so, when it’s your kid and they’re angry and you wanna say this phrase, just calm down. Now, I would just encourage you that that phrase doesn’t work with children because it also doesn’t work with adults. Like, has your spouse ever been angry and upset and you try that, say, Hey, just calm down.

It will not work well, because that’s the feeling that they are feeling. And you can’t just tell someone to stop feeling that way. You ever had a kid throw a meltdown? You see this happen all the time in the grocery store. Kids just throwing a meltdown, they’re crying, they’re flopping around on the ground probably because you wouldn’t give ’em the cereal that they want. And so they’ve just decided, this is the worst thing ever. And, and what do you wanna do as a parent? You wanna say, stop it. Stop doing that now. I just want you to reverse the role. And imagine in any context that you are upset and you are crying and you are sad. And someone looks at you and says, stop it. Stop doing that. It’s a terrible way to respond to someone. Why? Because the feelings that we have are real.

And you can’t just turn off a feeling. But sometimes, and I would even say that oftentimes our feelings can be wrong. Our feelings can’t always be trusted. I remember as a kid, I went through this season as a kid where I decided my parents didn’t love me. I don’t know why, but I, but I remember telling my parents, you don’t love me. Now, I can tell you as an adult now looking back, that the whole body of evidence would demonstrate the contrary of that. I had amazing parents, wonderful parents that very much loved me. And yet there was a season that for some reason my feeling was, Hey, you don’t love me. I’m not, I’m not the favorite. The way that the other kid is the favorite. It was a feeling that I had. It was a real feeling. It just happened to be wrong.

Very wrong. There are times in life where we have feelings towards God, feelings about ourselves, feelings towards other people. And and it’s not that you can just snap your fingers and the feelings go away, but you have to be able to weigh those feelings and say, are these feelings true? Can I trust these feelings? Is there an evidence that supports these feelings? Or do I need to be able to set them aside? I think the second thing is, is fear. Sometimes it’s hard to trust in God because of fear. We, we’ve had something bad happen, and because we’ve had this bad thing happen. Now that changes our perspective on everything else going forward. I would say in general, I, I’m just an irrational optimist. I’m happy all the time that that’s just the way that God wired me. When bad things happen, I I tend to say, Hey, we’re gonna get him next time.

That’s why I, I’m great with sports because I, it doesn’t devastate me when a team loses. I’m like, Hey, next game. We got it. It’s also why I’d be really bad at gambling because I’d be like, I lost now. But the next one, I just, one more time. I I always have an idea that, Hey, it’s gonna turn out okay. It’s gonna be great. We just gotta keep going. And in life, for the most part, as a parent, as a husband, I was that way. And then seven years ago, we, we had two healthy kids. My wife was pregnant. I was in the bubble of never having experienced anything that was bad. I mean, I’d had a pet die. I had some grandparents die. But, but the suffering that I had experienced was expected suffering, suffering that was supposed to happen. And then our third child lane, our daughter was born almost seven years ago.

She lived for four months. She was sick the whole time, and then she died. And can I just tell you that rocked my world, it rocked my world because there was a fear now that got inserted into the equation that was never there before that before with Bra and Kinley, who at the time they were about five and three I didn’t have this fear in the back of my mind that, Hey, this is the last time I’m ever gonna see them, or they’re about to get sick or they’re about to die, or something bad is going to happen. That was not a fear that I lived with. But, but what happened once we lost our daughter, it was my bubble had been popped. Now there’s a part of that recognized bad things can happen to me. I’m not immune to that. Not not just that.

There’s a part of my heart and my soul that said, bad things will happen. This is going to happen. And so there is a part of me, a fearful part of me that doesn’t want my children to ever leave my house. Like just, just completely being honest. And my wife and I have very different parenting style. She’s much better with kids at the playground than I am. And, and maybe I was sort of this way before, but, but it’s definitely gone into hyperdrive after. The psychologists will tell you that there’s an important aspect of kids’ playtime, that’s called risky play, that kids need to encounter risks when they’re playing. There’s a part of their brain that gets developed by participating in a risky play. As a matter of fact, everybody will at some point in life, participate in risky play. If you do it earlier on with boundaries, it’s healthier because you learn risk and reward if you don’t do it early on.

That same risky play will happen just at a different time in life. Could be high school, could be college sometime when risky play doesn’t sound nearly as good as what risky play is for a four year old. And so my wife is really good. She’s the parent that, like the kid can be climbing the tree and she can just be totally relaxed and totally good. I’m the parent that when my kid starts going up the tree, I’m like, whoa, you are four. Whoa. What is happening right now? Let me get a trampoline underneath you. Okay, let me, let me hold your hand the whole way up because there’s a part of my mind now that is always assuming the worst. My kids are outside yesterday. Yesterday. My kids are outside and they’re, they’re, they’re riding bikes and scooters and going into the street. And there’s a part of my brain that immediately goes to get ’em back inside so they don’t get hit by a car and don’t die.

I mean, that, that is a fear that I live with all the time. And it wasn’t there seven years ago. And now it is there every single day. And I can easily let that fear rule me. And if I let that fear rule me, I could easily say, Hey, I’m just gonna wrap my kids in bubble wrap and I’m gonna keep ’em inside. And they’re, they’re never gonna go outside. And what would I be doing? I would be stealing their future. I’d be stealing their potential because of that fear. Two things that make it challenging for us to trust God. Feelings, fear. So what do we do with those things? Well, we do the same thing that David did, that instead of fear, instead of doubt that we focus on truth. That he starts with my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? This is what he feels.

And then he goes to, Hey, but what I know the truth that I know in scriptures that God, you have been faithful over and over and over again. And he goes back to, but these are the fears that I have that my enemies are surrounding me, that it’s gonna be terrible. Then it goes back to the truth of what he knows. He leans on what he knows in the season of grief that my wife and I walked through. Probably the, the best author we found was a lady named Nancy Guthrie, brilliant author who had experienced just traumatic pain, traumatic loss. And in one of her books, her devotionals that she wrote she writes this, is it realistic to think that you and I can worship God? Not after we figured it all out, but as our initial reaction to loss in our lives. That, by the way, is really, really hard, praising God, not as a result of the things that we’ve seen no, but be in, in spite of the things that we’ve seen in spite of our loss.

She goes on to say, worshiping God does not require that we understand or approve of what God has allowed into our lives. It simply requires a heart, the desires to trust God, and a will that is bent toward obedience to God, regardless of our feelings. Regardless of our feelings. We worship God because he is worthy, not because we necessarily feel like it. Let me read that one again, ’cause I think it’s so potent. She says, we worship God because he is worthy, not because we necessarily feel like it. And as we worship in the midst of our pain, we are able to gain perspective on that pain. Thus is the costly worship, which makes it all the more worthwhile and precious to God. She’s picking up on the same sentiment that we see Paul write. Paul writes in two Corinthians chapter 12, verse nine, a famous passage he says, but he said to me, this is Jesus saying to Paul, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. That phrase, you are enough. It sounds right. It sounds great until you walk through a season of life where you realize you’re not enough, that you can’t accomplish it by yourself. You can’t just try harder. But, but here’s the hope that we find in the Christian walk, in the Christian narrative, in the gospel. Hey, here’s what that hope is. The life that God is calling us to live is impossible to achieve on our own. And say, you don’t have to do it on your own. Not only do you not have to do it on your own, you can’t do it on your own. That is why Jesus sends his helper. Jesus sends the power of the Holy Spirit that a Christian cannot live the life that God is calling us to live without the Holy Spirit and dwelling us.

So look what it says in John. This is Jesus talking and Jesus says, and I will ask the Father and he will give you another helper. We’ll come back to this word in a second. It’s the word Paraclete, which is another word or term that we use for the Holy Spirit. Jesus saying that I’m gonna send you the helper to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive. So those apart from God don’t have the Holy Spirit. These are only that have a relationship with God because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him. He’s talking to his disciples about the Holy Spirit. He’s saying, you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. And now, if, if Jesus had the idea that, Hey, you are enough and I’m just gonna encourage you and I’m gonna teach you, and, and my message to my disciples is gonna be that you are enough, would he have to send the Holy Spirit?

No. No. Instead what what Jesus recognizes is he’s saying, you’re not enough. You can’t do it on your own. You can’t accomplish all that I want you to accomplish in your life by yourself. But he’s saying, Hey, remove the burden of trying to be enough. You don’t have to because with the helper that I’m sending to the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you and with you, you can live a life that is full and lovely and flourishing and to use that common phrase that we hear all the time in culture thriving. But Jesus would say that you can’t thrive without the power of the Holy Spirit, that word helper and the Greek, it’s the word parato. It’s interesting because depending upon your version of scripture, you probably have any one of these words. It sometimes gets translated as helper sometimes gets translated as comforter or advocate or counselor.

And here’s the tricky part. Every single one of those words is accurate. In the first century, that word got used interchangeably in all these different ways and meanings. And the reason is ’cause originally it was a word that was used in the court of law. It represented a person of high social standing who speaks on behalf of a defendant and a court of law before a judge. This is the, the role of the Holy Spirit being our advocate. The Holy Spirit still is our advocate. But then deeper than that, it became to be known as a word, as one who consoles, one who comforts, one who helps, one who counsels. That the literal definition of the word means to call alongside in aid that the power of the Holy Spirit is aiding you in those moments of life. When the bottom falls out and you’re at your witts end, and you have a moment like David or like Jesus, where you feel in your soul, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

That the Holy Spirit is meant to be a comforter, to walk alongside you with you in you. When you have those moments where fear is paralyzing, you don’t wanna leave the house and you can’t take the next step. That in those moments of that fear that the Holy Spirit is within you to comfort you and to walk alongside you. There’s these two theological terms inside of scripture. And so there’s the, the first part is justification. Justification is the moment that we become a Christian before we become a Christian. We don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit in our life, but when we become a Christian, that’s the moment that we become justified. It’s this picture that we live in a broken world, that I have sin in my life. I was born into sin. And no matter how much I try, no matter how good I am, no matter how, how many good deeds I accomplish in my life, I will never be enough.

I can’t outweigh that sin. And so God recognizes that I’m incapable. That that’s where the grace of the gospel comes from, that it’s not because of me. It’s not by my good work, so that no man may boast no. Instead, Jesus comes, God sends Jesus to die on the cross from my sins, for your sins. That when we put our trust into Jesus, we become justified. That means that no longer when God looks at us as he see our sins, no, the sins have been washed clean because of Jesus’s death and resurrection by putting my faith and trust in him. That’s why I’m justified before God. But then once I become justified, once I become a Christian, that’s when I receive the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. And now the process of sanctification is the rest of my life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, pursuing the life that God has called me to live, that life is impossible on my own. I can’t do it on my own. I can never get there on my own. But when I surrender and submit and humbly walk alongside the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit inside me is helping me

To do those things. When you have moments in life where from the outside someone would say, how can they even make it? How’s they, how can they even survive that? When Paul talks about the peace that passes all understanding, he’s talking about the power of the Holy Spirit in dwelling somebody, praising God, regardless of the circumstance, no matter what. So where does it ultimately lead us to, leads us to, well, first some bad news. And here’s the bad news, is that you are not enough. I am not enough, but the gospel is the good news. Why? Because the good news tells us this, that Jesus is enough, and he always has been, and he always will be. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, Lord, I just pray right now for anyone in this room that is struggling, God, that that is coming in with brokenness and pain and suffering, God feelings that resonate with David of my God, my God.

Why have you forsaken me? God, feelings of fear. Lord, I just pray that they can remove the burden from themselves. So feeling like they have to be enough and instead, rely on you. Lean into you, God, for anyone in the room that doesn’t know you, that today can be a day that they put their faith, their trust in you, in Jesus receive the power of the Holy Spirit. God, I pray for anyone in this room that that does know you, that they can rely more and more on the Holy Spirit in their life, that they don’t try and do it on their own, or they lean into the comforter, the counselor, the advocate that you have provided us with. Pray all these things and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.