Thursday before the Third Sunday of Advent — 13 December 2018 Devotional

Psalm 38, Isaiah 32:10-20, Joel 2:12-13 In regards to their salvation, many people struggle with two particular areas. The first is pride. Realizing that one’s salvation involves the surrendering of self, a person can stop right at the light. Holding onto one’s self (one’s pride) can keep a person from taking the final step of surrender into God’s salvation. The other area is sin. Often the struggle with sin goes hand-in-hand with pride. If we look around us at the world, however, we can see that the world’s definition of a “good” person might not meet God’s definition of “good.” You may have heard a phrase similar to, “good enough is the enemy of great,” usually used in the business world. Let’s take that with sin. Good enough could be “better than the other person” or “everybody’s doing it” or “no one else is getting hurt by it.” Great is God. If we’re “good enough” are we the enemy of God? It sounds harsh. David, according to the world, was “good enough.” He committed sins, just like other leaders. He killed people in war, just like others. He was, it seems, a weak parent. While he wasn’t an enemy of God, per se, at the end, his greatest project of building God’s temple was handed over to his son because of the blood he had shed. There are consequences of doing wrong. Our legal system takes care of some things. Our social circles take care of other things. At the end of our lives, God takes care of the heart things, as we stand before the throne. The passage in Isaiah takes us through the good enough, through the consequences, and to the hope. The passage in Joel calls on us to be honest with ourselves, and what we have done, all in the context of God’s grace, compassion, and love. To get to the best part of the story of ourselves, we need to dig into the ugly part of ourselves, hearts conflicted with pride and sin. 1) Why do you think it is important to know the starting point of a journey? 2) Does the starting point of a journey determine the end of the journey? 3) Why do you think people judge/condemn others (or themselves) for the starting point of their journey, rather than focusing on getting to the right end? KD) What does it mean to you to be good enough? Why would you want to be better?