A Troubling Question for Christians: How Much Is Enough?

Have we really done enough to say we’ve done enough to satisfy God’s standard?

When it comes to all of these how-much-is-enough questions, I have found that there is only one question and answer that gives me peace.   Did Jesus do enough? Did Jesus do enough on the cross to pay for my sins? Was his active obedience enough to satisfy my failure to do enough?  To that question, I can answer with full confidence —Yes Jesus did enough!   

 

Over my Christian life I have constantly asked the question of how much is enough? I ask this question when I get up from eating supper.  Did I eat too much? I ask this question whenever I have just brushed my teeth.  Did I brush long enough?

Even worse, I continuously ask this question in regard to my own personal salvation.  Following are a few examples.

  1. Do I have enough faith? I don’t think I can match the faith of Abraham when he was called upon to sacrifice Isaac. Jesus speaks of how the faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Sometimes doubt lingers in my mind. Do I have enough faith?
  2. Do I have enough hatred of sin? Do I keep God’s commandments enough? Oh Lord, what about the sin of omission? This one does me in!
  3. Do I have enough love of Christ? I enjoy the praise of others. I love to win at everything.  If I love Christ enough then why am I even concerned about these things?
  4. Do I have enough love for others to demonstrate that I am being sanctified? I’m not talking about perfection. Good works give evidence of saving faith, but do I have enough good works to prove that I have saving faith?
  5. Do I pray enough? Sometimes I’m just too busy or too lazy to pray. When I tell people that I will pray for them, do I actually pray for them or am I just repeating some pious words?
  6. Do I trust God enough when trials and sickness overcome me? Oh Lord, I am a complainer and a worrier!

These how-much-is-enough questions can be a heavy burden that will drive many Christians to despair. The pursuit of 100% can be a constant encumbrance.  It can take away the joy of the Christian life.

When it comes to all of these how-much-is-enough questions, I have found that there is only one question and answer that gives me peace. Did Jesus do enough? Did Jesus do enough on the cross to pay for my sins? Was his active obedience enough to satisfy my failure to do enough?  To that question, I can answer with full confidence —Yes Jesus did enough!

I’m sure that I will continue to ask these how-much-is-enough questions, and I will continue to feel bad about myself. There is only one answer that I feel good about.  Jesus did enough.  He did it all.  He reached 100%. That is the only place where I can find peace in a world where I know that I will never do enough.

Larry E. Ball is a Retired Minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tennessee.