Very few people in this world have the wherewithal to offer an unbiased opinion of themselves, to be brutally honest concerning either their appearance, or their spiritual condition, to the point of tears. On the contrary most often we tend to overestimate every aspect of our lives, at least in our own minds, whether the topic is spirituality, looks, aptitude or intelligence.
Even I find myself sometimes, especially after a long winter, looking in the mirror, sucking in my gut, and thinking to myself, 'it's not that bad, I haven't gained that much weight this winter.'
It takes someone with the aptitude for brutal honesty to bring the truth home, in this case the vehicle for that brutal honesty being my little brother, who looked at me one morning while he was visiting, and through bites of his breakfast cereal said, 'you're getting fat, you should start hitting the gym.'
This is why the better yourself, and self esteem doctrines have such a huge following, because in essence they teach you to look in the mirror, and lie to yourself every time you do so. Believe me, lying to yourself is easy, especially when you don't really want to confront the truth. It's much easier for me to look in the mirror, while sucking in my gut, telling myself that I'm OK, or the old cliche, I'm beautiful on the inside, rather than start jogging again every morning, or cut down on the fun foods I enjoy eating. I know this post seems like I'm talking about my weight issues, but bear with me, it does have a spiritual application.
Unless we begin to see ourselves through God's eyes, we will always be able to justify ourselves, to ourselves, finding an excuse not to draw closer, and get deeper in Him. Whether it's looking at our neighbor, who attends the same church, but who we know is a much bigger sinner than we are, or at disgraced pastors who were found guilty of more vile sins than we've even thought of committing, it is easy for the human heart to justify compromise.
Only when we see what God sees, the God who's expectation is that His bride be without spot or wrinkle, do we begin to realize the depth of our depravity, the necessity of being washed in the blood of His Son, and clothed in His righteousness.
Whenever I hear yet another self betterment, or self empowerment speech, dressed up as a sermon, I go back to the words of Paul, and realize just how full of error these teachings are.
Here was a man who could have boasted, who by all rights should have had confidence in the flesh, who out shined most of his contemporaries due to his upbringing, his heritage, and his education, yet who was humble enough to see himself through God's eyes, and realize the nothingness of all that came before he knew Christ.
Philippians 3:4-11, "If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
So here was a man, who didn't just look in the mirror and spew out some worthless mantra about how he'll try better tomorrow, or how he tried his best, so the fact that he fell back into sin was OK, but one who was blameless concerning the righteousness which was in the law. Having seen however, the beauty of the righteousness which comes through faith in Christ, the selfsame righteousness that is from God by faith, he counted his own righteousness as nothing more than rubbish. Can most even say as Paul said that they were blameless concerning the righteousness which is in the law? Then how can so many persist in their folly, believing they can achieve only what Christ can freely give?
If only for an instant God would give those who call themselves His children eyes to see, they would perhaps realize that God will accept nothing less than seeing His Son in their hearts, their past washed clean by His blood, born again to a new life in Him, and that without the presence of Christ, no quirky mantra, no self empowerment book, or self esteem tape series will keep them from spending an eternity in hell. The cross, the blood, the Christ, no man can come to the Father, but through these.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.