At some point in my Christian life, I concluded that pride was the worst sin of all. After all, it caused Satan to rebel, Saul to lose the kingship and many others in the Scriptures who began well to make poor decisions wrecking their lives and the lives of others.
In order to suppress the potential for pride to grow in my own life (since pride is a blind spot we fail to see in ourselves), I unconsciously determined to minimize or ignore any of my strengths. For example, if I negatively compared myself to someone, it was okay to dwell on my weaknesses; however, if I could do something better than others, I should not reflect on this but reminded myself there is still room for improvement. I resisted compliments and genuine praise from others did not penetrate.
So I was left with a tarnished image of myself and the person God created me to be. I wondered how could I change these ingrained patterns? My first step was to recognize this as sin. It doesn’t honor God to continually point out someone’s faults, including my own. I confessed and expressed to God a desire to turn from this wrong life style of self-condemnation to speaking God’s truth to myself.
- Stop being my own harshest critic.
- Be kind and tender-hearted to myself.
- Get out my compliment radar to take note what others appreciate about me.
Psalm 139: 14 proclaims, “I am fearfully and WONDERFULLY made.” To acknowledge this in not pride but a step toward humility because I am letting God have the final word on my value.
If you have been a Christian for very long, you have probably heard the phrase “God desires your holiness more than your happiness.” Perhaps this is inferred from Romans 8:29 where God’s purposes are described as conforming us to the image of His son and Romans 8:18 where our present sufferings cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed to us. However, as a result of that catchy phrase, I developed a distorted/ false image of God. When I pictured God, the image that came to mind was an Olympic coach. I imagined him waking me before dawn to begin training, eliminating all pleasure and any activities which did not directly relate to the pursuit of holiness. If holiness was the gold medal, my coach wanted all of my time and energy focused on this. My life became a tight rope, a balancing act trying to make every action contribute to this goal of holiness.
Through the HOLY Spirit and the teachings of wise women in my life, I abandoned this distorted characterization of God. Realizing that through the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus, my holiness has been secured. His perfect righteousness is credited to my account. As His grace permeates my life, my walk is no longer a tight rope but more like a hike through the woods. With the Lord as my guide, I have confidence, not because I have chosen a certain path, but because I am on a journey with the One who is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.
It is a terrible thing to lose hope, yet many of us muddle through our days feeling hopeless. As I look at my current circumstance do I believe “God is nowhere” of do I perceive “God is now here.” What I feel depends on my perspective. When I think God is distant, I lose hope.
Where is your hope? If I could sit with you, I would want you to realize God is now here in this very moment. A few years ago, when I first met my counselor, she asked “What are you hoping to gain by coming?” I told her my vision is cloudy, like I have spiritual cataracts, and I need cataract surgery. Unfortunately this process of gaining spiritual sight is not as quick and uncomplicated as having an actual cataract removed from my physical eye. The process may take my entire life time until I see Jesus fact to face. If 20/20 spiritual vision is seeing people and circumstances like God sees, I have a long way to go; however, the better I see, the more hope I have.
It may be hard to hold onto hope but I can always hold on to Jesus. Even better, He is holding fast to me and nothing can snatch me from His hand.
May the God of HOPE fill you with all HOPE as you trust in Him Romans 15:13