I frequently run up against something ugly in me: my imposter complex. It leads me to doubt my abilities, question how I “tricked” people into giving me work… and it even creeps into my spiritual life, too:
- Am I reading my Bible enough?
- Did I do enough to help those in need?
- Am I telling enough people about the gospel?
- Did I pray enough today?
All of it comes back to the same thing: Am I doing enough to be “good enough” as a Christian? And in truth, I know the answer is no on these things, which doesn’t help me much. But then there’s the added problem that comes when I recognize that I’ve sinned in some way…
Conviction is good, but forgetting the gospel is not
Now, it’s one thing to be genuinely convicted of neglecting our responsibilities as believers. It is wrong for us to neglect God’s Word and time in prayer. It is also wrong for us to ignore our responsibilities to those in need, and the necessity of sharing the good news with those around us. And I’m sure you can think of a few other things to add to the list.
When we are convicted of genuine sin, we should turn from it, of course. We need God’s forgiveness and his help to make genuine changes in our lives. But sometimes we forget the “with his help” part, don’t we? Or at least, I do. (Again, there’s that whole imposter complex thing again.) I forget that the gospel isn’t just good news for me when I was far from God, but that it is good news for me now. Amazing grace may have saved me once, but it’s up to me after that.
But that just won’t do. That’s neither healthy, nor helpful.
Remember where your guilt has gone
We work, of course, but trying to figure out how to be good enough is only going to disappoint us in the end. Spurgeon is helpful here:
Believer, if He has made an end of it, then there is an end to it, and what more can there be of it? Here is a blessed text for you; I love to meditate on it often when I am alone: “As far as east is from west, so he has removed far from us the guilt of our transgressions” (Psa 103:12). This He did on Calvary’s cross; there effectually, finally, totally, completely, eternally, He purged all His people from their sin by taking it upon Himself, bearing all its dreadful consequences, canceling and blotting it out, casting it into the depths of the sea, and putting it away forever. It was indeed amazing love that made Him stoop to this purgation, this expiation, this atonement for sin; but, because He was who and what He was, he did it thoroughly, perfectly.
He said, “It is finished,” and I believe Him. I do not—I cannot—for a moment admit that there is anything to be done by us to complete that work, or anything required of us to make the annihilation of our sins complete. Those for whom Christ died are cleansed from all their guilt, and they may go their way in peace. He was made a curse for us, and there is nothing but blessing left for us to enjoy.1
Cling to those words: “It is finished.” They are the foundation of godly living. Without them, we’ll always forget our guilt is gone.