Are You Really Giving Your Best?

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In our family, the standard which children must achieve for school grades is "your best." The actual grade varies slightly depending on the child and the subject, but the question is always asked: "Was this your best?" The answer (and its honesty) determines whether the grade is acceptable or not. I've been struck lately in my Bible study that God wants our best as well. Honestly, our best is not as good as we might think it is. Still, God wants us to offer our best to Him. Think about this puzzle with me.

Is That Really Your Best?

The Bible is clear that our best is not good enough to earn our way into heaven.
All of us have become like someone who is “unclean.” All the good things we do are like dirty rags to you. All of us are like leaves that have dried up. Our sins sweep us away like the wind. Isaiah 64:6 (NIRV)
The standard for getting into heaven is to be perfect like God is perfect.
So be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48 (NIRV)
Pretty tough standard to meet, isn't it? The reason is because God is holy. He is perfect without any flaw or mistake. Because He is perfectly holy, He cannot allow any sin into His presence. Sin is the wrong things we do. They pollute what is holy. In the video below, look for how much sin it takes to make the "you" cup dirty. Did Christ ever sin? (Hebrews 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21) What did Jesus do that took away sin and its punishment? Do you know? Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for sin. He didn't have to pay for His sins, because He didn't have any. He took our place so we could be forgiven. All we need to do is accept this gift He gives. We do this by believing in Him, turning from our sin, and following Jesus for the rest of our life. (Learn more in this video.)

God Looks For Your Best

So Jesus took care of our sin, right? Does that mean we can do whatever we want? Nope. In fact, the Bible says emphatically (very strongly) NO!
What should we say then? Should we keep on sinning so that God’s grace can increase? Not at all! As far as sin is concerned, we are dead. So how can we keep on sinning? Romans 6:1-2 (NIRV)
God doesn't want our half-hearted efforts. He doesn't want us to just claim we know and follow Him while we go off and do whatever we want. Check this out.
  • God accepted Able's sacrifice of "the best" of his flocks and herds. God rejected Cain's sacrifice of "some" of his garden produce. God wants our best.
  • The first two of the Ten Commandments say God should be the first and only thing we worship. The next two commandments explain two of the many ways to do that. That's four out of ten commandments! (Exodus 20:1-11)
  • In explaining to the children of Israel (the Jews) what offerings to bring when as part of their worship, God says over and over again that He wants only the best ("without blemish," i.e. Exodus 29:11; Hebrews 9:14).
  • Jesus reiterates this idea of bringing your best in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
  • In case we are still in any doubt, look at what God says to one of the churches in Revelation:
‘I know what you are doing. I know you aren’t cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other! But you are lukewarm. You aren’t hot or cold. So I am going to spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16 (NIRV) Read the verse in context here.
He doesn't want us to ignore Him or to only half-way do it. God wants our best. Are you giving God your best? Really think about this. Your best may not be the same as other people's. Still, it should not be an excuse either. ("Well, at least I did my best.") Remember, you cannot lie to God. He knows you inside out (Proverbs 15:3). In what area are you not giving God your best? Confess it to Him. Tell Him. Then say you are sorry. Do you really mean it? Ask God to show you how to love and follow Him better. Ask Him to help you do it.
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