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Monday, June 29, 2020

Not Good Enough

We humans have a very common tendency. We tend to "think more highly of yourself than you ought." (Rom 12:3) Oh, we can be very subtle about it. For instance, everyone knows that "self-esteem" can be in short supply. Or, to put it another way, it is common for people to not think highly enough of themselves. I would submit that this is still thinking more highly of yourself than you ought.

Consider. We are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). That gives us innate value (Gen 9:6). Made by God and made in His image, it would seem that any time we say, "I'm not any good" we are saying, "God, you didn't quite make it with me. You messed up." And that is supremely arrogant. So whether we think we're "all that" or we think we're worthless, we tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

Christians suffer from this often. We know we're sinners (the first premise required to become a Christian). As we see Christ more clearly and love Him more dearly (hey, someone ought to put that in a song), the gap between what we should be and what we are widens. So, in moments (or longer periods) we might despair. "How can God love me? Look at how short I fall." We wonder if God can use us. We wonder if perhaps He's disappointed with us or angry with us. Maybe He loves us, but we're pretty sure He just doesn't like us much right now.

Over against that, we have Scripture. According to Christ, He didn't come to save the "healthy;" He came to save the "sick." "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17) Beyond that, it's not primarily the wise, the mighty, or the noble that God uses. Instead, "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." (1 Cor 1:27-29)

I'm actually concerned about self-professed Christians who think, "I'm okay." From what I see in Scripture and what I've seen in practice, the closer we get to Christ, the greater the gap we realize between our own abilities and righteousness and His. When people tell me "Faith is a crutch," I agree because I think Scripture teaches that all humans are spiritual cripples ... at best. (Most are dead.) When I'm tempted to think, "How could God choose me, use me, love me?" I remind myself of this. God's plan was to choose those who don't deserve it, to use those who aren't intrinsically useful, and love those who aren't lovable in order to thoroughly and wonderfully glorify Himself. My sense of shortfall, then, is confirmation of His magnificent grace, mercy, and love, a clear presentation of His power. Am I too small? Am I unworthy? Am I too weak? Yes! Look past all that and see God! Praise be to God that He can and planned to use a "wretch like me" to His glory.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Back in the day, Mike Warnke had a punch line about how a crutch is a great thing when your crippled.

Despite his flaws, he occasionally dropped a few things worth remembering.