Several weeks ago I read a blog article that I was very quick to tear apart for several reasons. The first reason was that it was so apparent that the author was boasting of their own accomplishments, and using them to merit their status and favor with God. I actually took the time and counted 53 times in this one article the use of the pronoun “I.” Word after word and sentence after sentence was, “look what I have done and do, I am a good person because of this, and I deserve God’s love and merit.”
I remember being so appalled by the obvious boasting and continuous self righteousness that I read it two other times in disbelief.
Oh, but then…
VERY recently, I found myself having this very attitude, disposition, and inward struggle between the flesh and spirit within my own heart. No doubt that during this very time the Holy Spirit of God brought conviction to my soul that I myself was no different than the author of that blog. While the spiritual man was desperately trying to receive what God had for me, the flesh was fighting with every ounce of energy to boast itself with the question, “what about me?!”
It’s funny how you can’t remember what you had for lunch, but when pride swells up within your heart, you can remember everything that you have ever done from the very beginning of your existence.
While this inward battle was warring inside, and with help of the Holy Spirit, I was brought into remembrance of what Paul said in Philippians 3:1-10. In this passage, Paul states that he has absolutely NO CONFIDENCE in the flesh. He goes through a list of his accomplishments; stating if anyone has right to boast, and right to trust in his abilities, that it is him; and he more! He was circumcised the eighth day, of the tribe of Benjamin, and Hebrew of the Hebrews. Concerning the law; he knew more Bible than anyone else. His zeal was unmatched, he persecuted the church and was blameless in that he lived ever letter of the Law.
However, Paul concludes by saying all these accomplishments, and all of these that he could boast of himself; he counted loss, he counted them but dung!
In these few verses, Paul gives us:
1) The Problem with “I”
The problem is that in all our good deeds, and all of our self righteousness, we CANNOT merit good standing with God! No mater how much we do, our deeds only serve to give us false assurance of our standing with God. If we could only get a hold on the fact that God loves us in spite of us, our service to Him would be much sweeter and rewarding.
2) The Purpose of “I”
The purpose of “I” is in finding our identity in Christ. Paul said “that I may win Christ. And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” He goes on to say something even more radically contrary to our way of thinking in verse 10. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto His death:” Paul said that his purpose, OUR purpose is to know Christ on such an intimate level that we even share fellowship in His sufferings! At that level of personal relationship with Christ, we begin to fulfill our very purpose for existence. Christ wants us to know Him!
My prayer during this struggle dramatically changed from “what about me, God?” to simply “it’s all about YOU, God! Thank you for all You have done!” My continued prayer is that these times of swelling pride will lessen and disperse more and more rapidly, and that the times of thankfulness to God for His grace to and undeserving wretch would grow more abundantly. May God use my life to honor Him, and may I never seek honor for myself!