Saturday, December 05, 2009
I have had some recent events in my life that remind me just how humble we need to be to others as I grow in my personal relationship with God and become stronger in my faith Christ. It is much easier to point outward than to consider inward.
Acts 17 tells of Paul and Silas going to Berea, a city in Macedonia, and found the Jews there "received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things [what Paul was preaching] were so." Acts 17:11 (ESV) The lesson here being that we need to compare what we are told by others with what Scripture tells us.
We tend to view this from a theological or doctrinal point - is what we are being told hold up as true or correct under the light of what the Bible says.
However, there is also another aspect to this. Are what WE doing meet what Scripture tells us to do.
It is easy to point out errors of others. It is much harder to see one's owns faults - or at least admit them. That is why before we start pulling out the specks in the eyes of others, we need to remove the logs from our own eyes (Matthew 7:3). This verse does not tell us to ignore the specks of others, verse 5 tells us to remove the speck but only after we have removed the log. (the use of a speck and log is to remind us that we need to see our sins as greater than the sins of others because we call Christ Lord and Savior yet our sins are a betrayal to those very words!)
The point here is that we are to be humble when it comes to others sins because we are no better. The purpose of pointing out sin should be to help another person, not condemn them (though they may initially feel that way), and it should have the same purpose in our own self-examination.
Now, getting back to me.
I have lived two lives.
My life before Christ and after Christ. I have a "BC" and an "AD", so to speak.
Before Christ I was hopelessly lost in my sin. There was not a commandment that I had not broken on purpose. My desire was not to be obedient to God but to feed my own lusts and flesh. My promise meant nothing. My mouth spoke a lie before truth (especially if it got me out of hot water). There was nothing that was personally moral to me - it was ok for me to violate my wedding vows, to ignore my obligations, to do what I wanted to do without regard for the consequences on others. I had so much pride in myself that I thought I could manipulate, finagle, lie, or ignore my way out of any problem.
Outwardly, I looked pretty good, until caught, but inwardly I was of poor, desperate, character.
After Christ, He dwellt in me and overtook me. My desire for Christ and Him Crucified became greater (usually) than the desires of self. I still have a long way to go to even dare to call myself even marginally righteous and I still battle my sin desires, but my succumbing to those desires lessens as I view myself more through Christ. Every breath is grace.
But here is where we Christians run into problems. We preach the Gospel with our lives but our lives have not always lived the Gospel and we tend to want to hide that in the dark corners of our lives, sometimes doing as the world does and pretending to be good people, and even relishing when others see us that way. Forgive me for hiding my past and wanting to look good. I was not good, ever, and any goodness I showed was because God was working in me.
Sometimes I think "pride" is the only sin, and all the other "sins" are just manifestations of that. It is our view of self that stands in the way of our view of God.
Our response to sin is to humble ourselves in its face. We are no better than ones without Christ and in many ways worse because it was God who gave us Grace and not our own righteousness that allows us to call Him Father. Let us always remember this both outwardly and inwardly.
For His Glory,