Proverbs is my favorite book of the Bible. The pages fill my heart with reminders of the life-giving power of living a life which honors God. The path that strives to walk in wisdom and righteousness is filled with so many pot-holes which threaten your footing and cause you to stumble. (It is also full of bright flashing billboards begging you to take a detour through self-destructive side roads, but that is another blog post altogether).
Previously, I hated Proverbs because provoked too many flashbacks to high school English class. The metaphors. The illustrated, creative language. The up-for-interpretation style of writing. It was not straight forward enough. Actually, in my opinion the entire Bible is not straight forward enough but nobody bothered to consult me in the writing phases of the book. However, in recent years I have come to realize- the author of Proverbs was a straight shooter. He tells it like it is, it is just that what he is telling is not easy to hear.
Throughout my reading in Proverbs, I have stumbled across a theme that talks about the faithful and the righteous and the wise. The book is filled with strong images of how God blesses the faithful but the wicked are doomed. This talk stirs up the question in my heart, Am I faithful enough? Am I righteous enough? This question invokes fear. Fear that I am missing the mark. Fear that I am not meeting the requirements of faithfulness, wisdom and righteous. Fear in that I do not know what the requirements are and for goodness sake NOBODY PASSED OUT A REBURIC FOR HOW WE WILL BE GRADED ON OUR FAITHFULNESS. What are you judging me on, God? Because in case you missed it I smiled at that guy who cut me off in traffic and bought a meal for my friends and also I work for an organization which literally feeds starving children, so when you talk about faithfulness, I am doing enough…. right?
The answer is no.
Am I faithful enough?
Of course not.
If I was able to muster up enough wisdom and righteousness to win over the favor of God all on my own, why did Jesus die? What was the point of all of that? When I consider the grace upon grace which has filled my heart and saved me from even my worst demons, the answer is clear. Of course I am not faithful, righteous or wise enough. The point is not to be my own savior, the point is to recognize my own failure, selfish motives and unwise decision making (there’s a lot of that) and respond by throwing myself at the feet of Jesus. There are times when I rock in the faithfulness category but I should not hang my hat on that, there are holes in even my best days. I am not faithful enough but Jesus is. Jesus comes in and fills the gaps in my spirit. He remains strong in the areas that I am weak. Jesus comes in and sustains when I am failing. He died a painful death so I did not have to sit over my open Bible, shaking with the fear that I have not been faithful enough.
No, I am not faithful enough but I am loved, saved and sustained by an ever-faithful savior who loved me enough to die on a tree all those years ago.