I am not good enough to be in seminary.
I only had to be there for a week before I knew that to be true.
I remember sitting at a table filled with suited and brilliant professors and trying desperately to hide my nervousness—smiling, consciously reminding myself not to keep staring down at my lap and trying with all my might to keep small talk.
And, as I sat there, I knew—I knew I wasn’t good enough.
I remember sitting at my desk casually peering from left to right at all the seminarians surrounding me—books and bibles stacked high, furiously typing away on their laptops.
And, as I looked around, I knew—I knew I wasn’t good enough.
I remember listening to the men and women share about their passions, their gifts, their various and extensive experiences with overseas missions, their church involvement, their ministries they were starting up, their relationships with the Lord…
And, as I listened, I knew—I knew I wasn’t good enough.
I am not good enough for seminary.
I am not entirely “straight laced”. I like to watch shows like Breaking Bad, I enjoy drinking cheap wine, I love tattoos, and I think that it’s really funny to occasionally flip my friends off.
I confess that I am often passion-less. I do not always want to obey God. I oftentimes struggle with maintaining a solid prayer life, and I do not always spend daily time with the Lord, reading and studying His Word, like my heart desperately needs.
I struggle with selfishness, anxiety, pride, fear, jealousy, discontentment, lust, greed, joylessness, seeking affirmation and approval from people, idolatry, worry, sadness, apathy, and comparison. Just to name a few.
I am prone to wander—prone to whore after the gods of this world, to seek after and to desire everything but Him—the true Satisfier of my soul. I am prone to want everything else and to shake my fists in anger when I do not get it. I am prone to leave the God I love.
I am the very worst seminary student.
I am not good enough.
Then grace whispers in my ear…
No one is. No one at this school, or any school, is “good enough”. No one on earth is or has ever been “good enough”. We can’t be good enough. That is why Jesus was.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
|2 Cor. 5:21
…We must say to ourselves something like this: ‘Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think “I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.” No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us – denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him – and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely.
I am terrible at grace.
By grace you have been saved, seminary student, and by grace you live (“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Gal 3:3) Preach the gospel to yourself. Beat it into your head. You are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. You are not good enough, and you never will be. But Christ was good enough. Jesus on the cross was punished for your lack of “good enough”. And, in Christ, you are justified, and God sees Jesus’ perfect righteousness when He looks at you.
I am jacked. I am a sinner. I am the very worst seminary student.
But in Christ, I am renewed. I am restored. I am cleansed. I am forgiven. I am free.
By God’s grace, I have been given the incredible opportunity to learn, to study His Word and to learn how to teach it to others for the spreading of the Gospel and the furthering of His Kingdom to the ends of the earth.
By His grace, this very worst seminary student, is redeemed.
And, by His grace, even the very worst seminary student, in Christ, is good enough.