Reflection or Refusal

Confidence.  It’s a funny trait.  We all want it but tend to become brash or arrogant if we have too much.  I suppose it takes a certain level of boldness to be confident in our world today.  Some are so bold and sure of themselves that they will openly look down on everyone else.  In the process of achievement, they will walk all over anyone in their way, declaring that they never had what it takes.  And the more success one has, the more confidence they build, the more arrogant they sometimes become.  It’s a vicious cycle, that if we’re not careful, can pull us away from God.

Throughout the Bible, we are taught that maintaining a meek and humble attitude is what leads to true communion with God.  It is through God that we derive our strength and success.  It is through his grace and mercy that we’re saved from our sin.  But only if we’re willing to acknowledge him.  When faced with our success we can reflect on who brought it to us or we can refuse to believe God had anything to do with it.  When faced with our own sin, we can reflect on our shortcomings and humble ourselves before God, or we can refuse to believe that we’re a sinner at all.

Humble before God
Humble before God

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus explains how our self-confidence and sanctimonious attitude keeps us from a true relationship with him:

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men- robbers, evildoers, adulterers- or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’  But the tax collector stood at a distance.  He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'”

Here we find the Pharisee praying about how good he is compared to others.  And sure, if we compare ourselves to other humans, we may come off quite clean, at least on the outside.  But when compared to a righteous God, our sin is a glaring reminder of how lost we really are.  It’s only when we have a contrite heart, overwhelmed and overcome with our own guilt that God hears our prayers.  It’s when we lower ourselves that he lifts us up.  And the exalting we receive is far greater than any worldly confidence or boldness we can have.  It’s the act of God making us righteous in his sight and giving us adoption into his family and kingdom (Matthew 5:3).

Remember to reflect on who you really are.  Remember that there is no hierarchy of sin.  To God we are all facing judgement.  Only through the blood of Christ can we escape our death sentence and be united with our creator.  Now that is something to be confident about!

-Joe

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