Originally published Monday, 10 August 2015.
Proud, happy and all buttoned up, I've been the good-girl Christian skipping along my merry way.
Moving just a little faster.
Standing just a little taller.
That is, until my face meets the concrete and a land flat on my face, bruising my image.
Injured and shocked, the impact of the hit
impacts my heart with the truth, I've been missing Christ.
Have you ever gotten so concerned with your image that you missed His?
Believed your faith is what makes others want his?
Or, let your high standing in Christ's family, make you feel just that - high and better off?
When performance leads our charge, when we think we have all our stuff packed perfectly, tightly and detailed into our favorite bible of choice, when we parade a little taller, a little higher, with a little more insight, when others are not doing things right all the time - we better yell, "Stop" to our heart, because we are about to fall.
I know I should have done that.
Perhaps, I would have saw things more clearly, before letting the critiques of others spill out on the floor. Perhaps then, my contents wouldn't have displayed a load of pride and a pound of judgement and a dash of negativity. These things don't taste good and they certainly don't go down with feelings of Christ's love.
For the most part, others turn and run at their stench.
Oh Lord, let this not be me.
Yet, somewhere along my way, I mistakenly began believing that godliness equates to giftedness, goodness and greater access.
I became that unfavorite person I so often look down on.
A Litmus Test: Are You Better-Than-Thou?
Do our prayers sound more like this?
‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ Lu. 18: 12
Or do we come and pray more like this?
“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’” Lu. 18:13
When we see our sin nature as a worldwide epidemic that hasn't left us spared, we see we really are just like the taxman slumped in the corner of mistakes, turmoil and pain.
We see we are that jacked up. No better or worse than others - just saved.
Saved, not from neediness, but from eternal fallenness.
Our embrace of this truth gives legs to humility
not a heart set on growing in earthly nobility.
Perhaps this is why Christ looks at the first man, the Pharisee, and says, "If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:14
I learned the hard-knock way.
I am more a Pharisee than a needy sinner, and it feels good to see. Christ does not condemn me. He loves me. This realization returns my heart to Jesus like the slumped man needing a fresh touch. It returns me to the place of need, where I, like all my fellow man, sit.
This place is a place of unity, togetherness, hand-holding, anticipation of Christ's work.
A place of relief; it removes my show-off, to turn the power of God on.
It brings Christ to the places that I can't deal with -
leading me to the most downtrodden, contagious and dirty people.
It brings him into my weakness, into my pain.
May I boast only in my weakness.
Paul knew this is the power prayer.
May it be one of our favorites too: God, help us to boast only in weakness. Forgive us God, sinners. We miss you and need you. Teach us your ways God and lead us in your paths, lest we fall on our face. May our humility be the artery that allows your work to flow to us and through us. Amen.
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