Not good. Bad.
The early Jazz musicians would say that a guy could really "Blow" if he had a good sound when playing the horn. If he couldn't play very well then they would say that he was "Sucking" on that horn. That's where the term "Suck" as being something bad came from.
If you suck, it generally means you have no skill and/or talent.
A good friend of mine is reading a book that was foundational to completely re-orienting my faith about 15 years ago, The Rest of the Gospel by Dan Stone. The full title is much longer The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out. That book, heck, even that title, was a rescue to me at a very dark time.
The book does a beautiful job of reminding us of something most of us have gotten really confused. The author does that by showing us the parts of scripture that we or others have somehow overlooked or dropped from the spiritual lexicon.
For instance, we are all familiar with Romans 3:23:
“...for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…”
Most of us are not as familiar with the entire phrase (Romans 3:22-24), however:
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
I was taught that I was sinful and fell far short of the glory of God. Done, completed, end of story. The reality is that I have been granted righteousness, that I am justified freely through His grace. That even though I sinned and fell short of the glory of God, I was changed by this incredible gift and sacrifice. I was, but I am no longer.
Think about how radically the following idea changes if you just change one word:
I am capable of doing good things.
I am intended to do good things.
Or even hitting the issue a little more head on:
I am just a sinner saved by grace.
I have been granted righteousness and am capable of sin.
Said the way another friend of mine used to say:
I am only capable of sucking.
If I work really hard, I may find a way to not suck so much.
One day, way up yonder, I won’t suck anymore.
When I peeled back the veil of a Romans 3:23 reality and the rest of the phrase was revealed, I started to see all kinds of other things that I had missed (or at least not claimed as part of my heritage and identity):
- I was a new creation.
- My heart of stone had been replaced by a heart of flesh.
- I was an image bearer of God’s glory and identity.
- In the ascension, I had been granted Jesus' authority that God had granted Him.
- I carried a unique aspect of the divine and His plan to reveal the aspect of his glory, was me.
- I was a co-heir of his creation and intended to rule that on his behalf.
And that isn’t the stuff that happens if I am if I am really good. That isn’t the role I get to play if I just don’t suck so bad. It is the stuff I have been granted by His righteousness and there is actually nothing I can do to earn it. I just need to believe it and live as that new creation.
What if you started everyday grounded in the truth that you're not only capable, but intended for good things. That the truest thing about you is that you are intended for glory, to carry His righteousness. If you can live in the reality of the full gospel instead of the partial one, it will change everything.
It has for me.
- Are you living with a partial gospel?
- Is it wearing you out?
- What would it look like if you lived with the entire one?
- What would change if you did?