The short answer is: no.
The real question is, “Do I have to be best?” Thankfully, the answer to that question is also, no.
I have to quickly go to the Bible and ask, “What does God expect of me?” Everything else really doesn’t matter.
1. He wants me to recognize Him as my Heavenly Father. He alone is always good. He is best. He is perfect.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37,38: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.“
Why? Because He is perfection personified. The only perfect One.
What else does God expect of me as His child? To walk in His ways, to be like Jesus Christ, His Son. Who also was perfect.
A conundrum, for sure. Sorry for the big word. I am kind of a big word geek. I often use big words wrong, just because it is fun to say them. A conundrum is: a confusing and difficult problem or question.
It is not confusing or difficult to be like Jesus. What is difficult is thinking that I can become Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, Himself incarnate.
So what is the second thing God expects of me?
2. He wants me to admit I am a sinner.
Ouch! Really, I should be able to do that less painfully now. I knelt under my grandma’s dining room table and accepted Jesus as my personal Savior almost 50 years ago. Incredibly, it is no less painful for me to admit that I am wrong now, than it was when I was 5 years old.
I am a prodigal; but I know God loves prodigals. My pastor taught me that the meaning of the word prodigal, is “waster”. I was taught well as a child that it is wrong to waste.
In Jesus’s parable, “The Prodigal Son”, there is a sweet picture of how the father let his son go. The boy was a loser. He went out and blew all his dad had given him on worthless things. The father waited at home hoping his boy would return.
Finally, the young man hits rock bottom and realizes he had it pretty good at home. He humbly returns, willing to be a servant if only he could be in his father’s household again. This is what he says:
“And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son.” Luke 15:21
Do you love that? I do. How often do I hide my shortcomings, failings, sins? As much as I can, I hide them or run away from them. Does that make them less real? No; then why do I do it? I don’t want anyone to think less of me. There, I said it.
Let’s go back to Luke 15. In verse 20, this is what happens: “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
The father does five beautiful things. He sees, runs, feels compassion, embraces, and kisses his son. Notice though, that at the beginning of the verse it says, “While he was still a long way off.”
I am still a long way off from where I expect myself to be. My expectations are so skewed. Where I really want to be is with my Father, basking in His love. He doesn’t want me the way I want me to be; He wants me the way I am right now.
That is such a relief. I can be a servant in my Father’s House and be an accepted part of His family. Low, humble, an admitted sinner, even a failure.
In Christ alone I have this place.