A great gift of the Lord to sinners is to show them what they are.
He consistently shows me who I was and what I still am. And let me explain why I love Him for it.
Well first, what was I? A hopeless sinner. What am I in Christ? A hopeful…sinner. Still a sinner. It’s difficult to convey the meaning of that word with the proper gravity. The Lord Jesus surely came to the world to save sinners, and He does save them, but His perfect plan is that we do not go from salvation straight to glory. I am not yet perfected by Him. I am justified completely, yes. But still so imperfect.
What does this teach me? For one, the riches of His grace.
The Lord is faithful to show me my sin. He’s so faithful. He’s faithful to bring me low, to remind me how different I am from Him, how wide the chasm would be between us if it weren’t for the sacrifice of Christ. This war I wage against my sin is misery and also my refining, and I love the Lord for not leaving me be. I love the Lord for His love in disciplining me as a beloved daughter.
But the grief! My continuous realization of my selfishness is agonizing. To close my eyes and see my motivations, repeatedly, to prove to be in concern for my own happiness, is agonizing. And this is what I thank the Lord for, for causing sin to cause pain, and for that process to force me to go to the Father. Because what is maturity? Knowing and being like the Lord. This is not easy. In fact, it is impossible. For me alone.
It is impossible by my works or my power. Why? Because I have none. I have none. I have nothing to offer the Lord but what is already His. I must come to Him just as I am, because I can do nothing else. And this Lord of glory? He hung on a tree and died willingly as He was crushed for the sins of many. Crushed with the sins of many. The Lord of glory experienced the punishment and wrath of God that I earned with my selfishness, my tactless words, my many years of disobedience to my parents, my prideful disposition, my love of the darkness. He then plucks these wretched creatures like me from their darkness and brings them into His marvelous light, at the great cost of Him taking on human flesh and dying a sinner’s death. He takes them and He washes them clean, and instead of getting what I deserve, I get what He deserves.
The riches of that grace! How on earth do the redeemed ever feel pride?! I can’t understand myself at other times when I consider her in light of clear moments like this. Clear moments like this, though, are the Lord’s precious gifts to me daily. He is a revealer of the thoughts and intentions of the heart, and He shows me all the time how much I need Him to turn me from my sin. I need Him today as much as I needed Him on the day of my salvation. I am being sanctified, but I am still so lowly, so prone to give in to the flesh, so clearly imperfect and incomplete in showing the world, or the ones I love, the love of the Lord.
This task is impossible for me. It is impossible. But with the Lord, all things are possible. Though I pray for victory over selfishness, I pray even more for the Lord to remind me that any win is won by the hand of my God. He gets glory alone for His bringing me to Himself, and definitely for making me like Himself. To be like the Lord! I’m so impatient for this. (Even so, come, Lord Jesus!)
Anyway, I just want to encourage you, if you are the Lord’s, not to despise being humbled by God. It’s such a beautiful gift. It’s unspeakably wonderful even while it’s painful, and I would not trade closeness and better understanding of my Lord for the highest self esteem that the world has to offer. That is a lie, because I am not good. I am chosen and redeemed by my Father, but I am not good. He did not save me because I am good. He saved me because He delights in generous and gracious rescue, because He receives glory in all His deeds.
“For consider you calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.” Psalm 25:8-9
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
May the Lord alone be magnified.