“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
When it comes to being honest… we aren’t. I am sure someone is reading this and thinking, “Well that’s assuming a lot! I am honest… well most of the time!” This brings me to my second point… deception. Okay, so hang in there with me for a minute. I am not saying that everyone is a habitual liar. I would dare say most people would think themselves to be relatively honest people. I like to think that most people value honesty. Here is where my problem is. Deception keeps us from actually understanding what truth is! This is especially true when it comes to evaluating your own self.
I know this may crush your image of who you are, but I must tell you the truth… you are average. I know, I know… your mom always told you how special you are and how there is no one on earth like you, and how you’re unique… like a snowflake! I’m not saying your mom lied (she did), but I am saying she was gracious in her estimation of your intrinsic worth… and that’s being gracious. You have value and worth for one reason only. You were created in the image of your almighty and holy God. This is where your worth is found. You apart from God… on your best day… have nothing of value to bring to the table. Just to be clear… NOTHING.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
Philippians 3:7-8 ESV
Okay, enough bashing your ego without an explanation. Here is the truth. Jesus is God, you are not. Jesus is gracious, you are not. Jesus is righteous, you are not. Jesus is merciful, you are not. Jesus is perfect, you are not. The good news is this… God already knows this! It is us who like to hang on to the thought that we can do it on our own. The Christian life is not about God getting us started, like a dad teaching his kid to ride his bike. He doesn’t slap on a helmet (of salvation), give us some momentum, and hope for the best! A person who has been forgiven their sins, born again, regenerated, justified, and redeemed by God is still completely in need of Jesus and His salvation in every aspect of life. You have NOT arrived… WE have not arrived.
For those of you who are still thinking, “I’m not that bad.”, here’s the next point. Self-righteousness may be the worst sin of all! God embraces sinners who come to Him for forgiveness, but not so with those who think they are okay. According to the Bible, God opposes the proud, but shows grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6 ESV) This seems pretty important, don’t you think? In my experience, the second I think, “I don’t really struggle with pride.”, I have shown my self-righteousness to be evident. It is when I stop looking at myself and focus on Jesus Christ, “the founder and perfecter of [my] faith” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV) that can be humbled by who He is.
“… and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”
Philippians 3:9 ESV
Paul, who wrote a good portion of the New Testament, actually let go of everything for the sake of “knowing Him [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10 ESV) Anyone who belittles their need for Jesus Christ, His grace, mercy, forgiveness, patience, salvation, sanctification, and more… is arrogant, deceived, and rejecting their only chance at eternal life. Do not evaluate your own so called righteousness by comparing it to some other human. It does not matter how “holy” you seem in comparison, your righteousness will NOT save you. It cannot save you.
“Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
Hebrews 12:3-4 ESV
There is an element of your enjoyment and awe of who Jesus Christ is that depends on your perspective of your own self. If you think too highly of yourself, your view of Jesus will be insignificant or too low at best. If you think too lowly of yourself, and consider yourself a “lost cause”, you misinterpret who Jesus is and what He is fully capable of doing! Jesus is your, and my, only Hope… period. Remember the words of Oscar Wilde, “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” It is not a bad thing to think of yourself as needy, lacking, and inadequate, but do not get stuck in that thought, because you will still be focused on yourself. Instead, allow those thoughts and feelings to point you to Jesus. Let your realization of your inability look to Jesus for His immeasurable grace! Fix your eyes on Him. He is your Hope personified. If you are “in Christ”, then He is your identity.
“‘You are no saint’, says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope, I have none.”
We must pray for God to give us clear sight. It is not “blind faith” that we are looking for. We want to have faith, indeed, but we want to have faith in the God who is so clearly evident to be real in this chaotic life! Ask God to help you get out of your own way. CAUTION: do not ask this, unless you mean it. Ask God for the ability to lose your self-focus, and realign your vision with Jesus Christ as your focal point. Ask for God’s wisdom. He gives it generously. Ask for Him to help your faith as you choose to push away from the shore to discover the new oceans that await. Bon voyage.
God help us to see. We ask for wisdom, not because we deserve it, but because you promise to give it to us. We desperately need Your wisdom, Your perspective, and Your incredible grace. We sin, we try to fix it, we try to hide it, help us please. We need you… more than we know.
Rethink. Renew. ReGroup.
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