It’s all about me!

all about meHave you ever met that person? You know, the one who thinks the whole world revolves around them. Everything is about them. If you hurting, they are in more pain. If you have a praise, they have a bigger praise. If you have a story to tell, they have a better story. It’s all about them!

Today, I’m going to be that person. I’m not going to worry about you, or think about others. It is all about me…that is when it comes to sin, confession, and repentance.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 18 about two men. One was a Pharisee and the other a publican. Both went to the temple to pray. When it came to sin, the Pharisee was concerned with others. He contumeliously stood and prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” But the publican was only thinking of self. He wasn’t concerned with the Pharisee. I want to be like him. His prayer was, “God be merciful TO ME a sinner,” speaking of himself as if he were the only sinner in the world.

David had this same attitude in Psalm 51.

…wash me

…cleanse me

…my sin

…my transgressions

…purge me

…create in me

…cast me not

…restore unto me

…uphold me

He is a little self-focused, wouldn’t you say? But, isn’t that exactly how we should be when there is sin in our lives. And unfortunately, that is every single day for me.

Oh, but let’s not end here. For King David didn’t. After he confessed his sin before God and a right spirit was restored within him, he then continued ….

“…Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee,” Psalm 51:13.

When we are right before God, our hearts desire is to teach others. Why? Because we are filled with such love from God’s mercy and forgiveness that we greatly desire for others to experience the same.

Probably the most misquoted verse in all of scripture is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” But if people would just continue to read the Bible they would see that it never commands us to not judge others, only to not judge hypocritically.

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye,” Matthew 7:5.

When we “first” cast out the beam from our eye “then” we can see clearly to cast out the mote from our brother’s eye. For in truth, if we love our brother and our heart is right, we will want to do just that.

So maybe, it isn’t all about me

It just starts with me!

Self-Deceit

self conceit“I would never…”

“That happens to other people…”

“Thank God I’m not like that…”

“If that were me, I would…”

Have you ever spoken these words? I cringe just thinking about times in my life I have had similar thoughts. Over the years God has shown me the grievous sin of pride in my life. Today, He continues to remind me. It is pride that whispers, “I would never.” It is pride that says, “Thank God I’m not like that…” And it is the pride of life that without fail brings about destruction (Proverbs 16:18). This is why we are warned to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith, Romans 12:3.

Am I above any sin? Isn’t this sinful flesh capable of anything? Couldn’t I fall just as easily as David, a man after God’s own heart, did – or even Abraham the friend of God? I believe so; we are all susceptible to falling into sin. But notice I said “falling.” Christians do not commit sin deliberately or consistently. It is against our new nature. As the Prince of Preachers said, “Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it?” No, as children of God we do not love sin. We hate everything about it. And we tremble at the slightest thought of committing deliberate sin. We do, however, fall into sin on occasion and it is wise to remember just how easy it is.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12.

It is for this reason we need one another. We need accountability.

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

But in this, let us never become prideful……

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself, Galatians 6:1-3.

A person who does not understand their own character can easily be deceived.

In truth, the better we know our own hearts, the more compassionate we are with others. The better we know our own hearts, the more on guard we are against sin. The better we know our own hearts, the more we trust in God alone. God resisteth the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Help me, dear Lord, to be humble. I need Your grace. Help me to hate even the smallest amount of pride in my life. Help me Lord to understand how sinful I am and how righteous and holy You are. And may I never forget that self-conceit is but self-deceit.

“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself…..”

“Jesus loved him”

“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, ‘One thing thou lackest…’”

It only takes a few minutes online to see enough pride, arrogance, and debauchery flowing through Facebook, Pinterest, and other sites to make my blood boil.  There is a sense of indignation that springs up in my heart, especially when the things of God are debased.  The longer I live, the clearer I can see the depravity of man.  Of course, times are no different today than when Jesus walked upon this earth.  Sin still reigns in the hearts of men.  Men still love darkness rather than light. Men’s eyes are still blinded by the god of this world.  Man is man – nothing more.   But lest we forget, God is God and nothing less.

In 2 Corinthians 5:18 we are told, “all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Have you ever thought about the ministry of reconciliation that the child of God has been given?  Our ministry is to help reconcile sinful man to a holy, perfect, and just God.  Sometimes this ministry is frustrating.  We know “the terror of the Lord” and therefore we persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11), but “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:18.

Sometimes I struggle with how I am to communicate this with those who are blind.  This is why I love the Way of the Master evangelism course.  I’ve been through it several times and my husband is currently teaching it in our home each Monday night.  The point of the course is to evangelize the way Christ did.  His method was law to the proud and grace to the humble.   When the rich young ruler came to Christ seeking how to inherit eternal life, the Lord did not give him the “plan of salvation”.  Nor did He lead him in a “sinner’s prayer”.  Nor did Christ tell this man that he had a “God shaped hole in his heart” and if he would just believe that he would receive.  Instead, Christ pointed him to the law of God.

“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.” (Mar 10:18-19)

When this man insisted that he had kept all of these from his youth (obviously bearing false witness) then Jesus, “beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” Mark 10:21

Because of this man’s pride, Jesus kept pointing him to the law.  Giving away everything to the poor will not save anyone.  Jesus was showing him the essence of the 1st Commandment.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” Exodus 20:3.

But what happens?  The man walks away sad.  He refuses to follow Christ, because he had another god.  “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions,” Mark 10:22.

Other times in Scripture, like the woman at the well in John 4, we see Christ giving the gospel to those who are humble.  Law to the proud and grace to the humble.   

 But what really caught my attention while reading this passage yesterday during our small group study was one simple phrase in Mark 10:21.  “Then Jesus beholding him loved him…”  Here was an unsaved man who came to Christ, was pointed to the law, and still walked away unregenerate.  Yet, Jesus loved him.  I’ve missed it in the past.  Jesus loved him!  Of course He did.  He desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  And in His love for the man, the most loving thing that Christ could do for him was to point him to the law of God.

Christian, Do you love the sinner?  Do you love them like Christ loved them?

Do I love the sinner like Christ loves them?  If I did I would tell them that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.  If I loved them I would tell them about their sins and how “sin is the transgression of the law,” 1 John 3:4.  I would tell them that “the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23a.  And I would point them to the law of God so that they would see their need for a Savior.  This is the most loving thing we can do.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God,” Romans 3:19.