“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
– Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT
When I was a little girl, I wanted to know God.
I’d open my little Bible up and read it all alone. One time, I remember praying one enormously powerful prayer in my dark room: “God, if you’re real, I want to know you. Will you help me?”
He did, but first, by showing me how I needed endless help! As I read the Bible’s high standard—of loving God and others as ourselves—I knew I didn’t live up to how God asked me to live.
As the youngest child of eight, I was reminded daily of how I failed at loving others like myself. But I still didn’t realize how I could live the life God wanted for me with him. I was missing something—really, someone—important.
Thankfully, years later, when I was in college, my friend invited me to a gathering where I heard about how to know God in a way I never had before. I told her, “I don’t understand why so many people always talk about Jesus.” She explained that the gap between how I wanted to live and the way I really did live was a gap Jesus came to fill.
Jesus was the connection to God that I had been missing.
My friend sat with me, our legs dangling over the lofted bed in my dorm room, and we ventured through the Bible’s pages. First, I found out I wasn’t alone: Everyone falls short of God’s perfection (Romans 3:23). Whew, it’s not just me, I thought. No one is good enough on their own to merit a close friendship with God.
Then, she pointed me to hope: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NLT).
I knew a lot about boasting! I was voted “most likely to succeed” in high school, having nearly straight As. As a student at Stanford University, not only did I know a lot about striving, but everyone around me did, too. In my first week alone, I met an Olympian and a Rose Bowl Parade princess. I found myself in a place where people could have bragged about a lot of things …from being brilliant to astonishingly interesting. Bragging (or humblebragging, at least) was something I could see myself doing if I also thought I was some kind of spiritual superwoman.
It made perfect sense: The only way to be good enough was to let God make me good enough. And God made me good enough through Jesus’ covering of all of my wrongs.
So, friends, I don’t want you to do what I did—read the Bible alone in the dark. Don’t wait to feel close to the Author of the story and the Creator of you. You can know God now by asking him to forgive you and give you new life. If you’ve done so, then you are a child of God (1 John 3:1), and you have become a new person.
Here’s your story and my story, too: We are enough because Jesus makes us enough.
Picture the book that tells the story of your life. What is the title of that book? Do you wish the story had a different title?
Father, I confess I fall short of being perfectly loving and just, as you are. I believe you sent your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and pay entirely for all my sin.
Ask someone over for coffee and find out her story. Ask her what title her life’s book would be and what she wants it to be.