The "Never Enough" Lie

The “Never Enough” Lie

The Never Enough Lie

By Steve Backlund

There is a message that the enemy of our souls repeatedly speaks. It has effectively drained life and joy out of multitudes. This message comes in thoughts and words that are designed to drive us to be our own hard taskmasters, with our perceived failures ever before us. Behind it all, the enemy is saying something much more damaging: “ You aren’t doing enough right things to be worthy of being blessed, approved by the Father, or significant.”

We have all heard or thought things like these

  • You are not good enough
  • You are not committed to God enough
  • You are not giving enough
  • You are not sorry enough
  • Your family is not good enough
  • You don’t love God enough
  • You don’t have enough money or quality people around you to make a difference
  • You don’t have enough faith
  • You don’t have enough education or skills
  • You haven’t prayed, read your Bible, or fasted enough
  • You have not obeyed God enough
  • You have not forgiven enough
  • You have not shared the gospel enough
  • You have not given your loved ones enough time
  • You have not been consistent enough

Certainly, we are to keep growing and allow ourselves to be challenged to do more, but if we are not careful, we will never be able to attach faith to what we are doing because we are condemning ourselves by believing we are never doing enough. 

Which is more effective?

  • Praying five minutes a day in faith or praying for an hour but feeling like you should have prayed more?
  • Giving your kids 30 quality, faith-filled minutes or giving them two hours but believing you aren’t as good of a parent as your neighbor?

Scripture teaches us that whatever we do without faith is sin (Romans 14:23), so the answer to the above questions is obvious. Again, the desire to grow and do more is important, but we cannot grow effectively if we constantly feel bad about ourselves and our progress. Besides, how much is really enough? Who gets to decide that? Well, I am glad you asked. Surprisingly, we get to decide what is enough. Here are two passages to consider that support this: 

  1. “But each one must give as he has decided in his heart” (2 Corinthians 9:7). 
  2. “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:22-23).

It is this second passage I want to focus on here. “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:23). Please note that it is not God condemning us that makes us unhappy, but it is the condemning of ourselves that is the problem. When we declare war on this self-condemnation, we will find a key to overcome the “never enough lie,” and a whole host of other life-draining falsehoods. 

Romans 14 is a life-launching chapter for those who desire emotional health and increased positive influence. One of the chapter’s main points is to attach faith to what you do. The chapter ends with the gold-mine verses 22 and 23 where we glean: 

  • Happy is he who does not condemn himself.  
  • Doubt in our choices (which includes feeling like we are not doing enough) leads to our condemning ourselves.
  • Whatever we do without attaching faith misses the mark (is sin) – the “you are not doing enough” lie is one of the main reasons we are tempted to live in doubt about what we are doing.

We cannot end this blog without saying this: Jesus has done enough! Every time we participate in communion, we remember what He has done. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Romans 12:2). As we continue to receive revelation of His victory over death, sin, and demonic principalities, and as we gain more knowledge of our born-again identity in Him, we will find a most-important response to the “you are not doing enough” lie: “Jesus has done enough because I could not.” Now that is good news.  

God’s grace is empowering you now to defeat the “never enough” lie through attaching faith to what you are doing and by standing firmly on the finished works of Jesus. We rejoice together in this.

For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.


Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.

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