Pride, Death, and A Great Redeemer
"Stop trying to do something for Me. Just let Me be your Redeemer."
This is the message I sense God is continually speaking to me lately. Oh what a hard lesson for me to learn. There is something in me that desperately wants to do something amazing for God, to live a life that makes Him proud and impresses Him and others. If I'm being gut-level honest, I just want to be awesome on my own and have some bit of glory for myself. I don't really like to live in the reality that apart from Christ I can do nothing. And because my Father loves me, He has set up circumstances in my life to sanctify this sinful tendency out of me.
Last year, I studied the Pharisees and realized that I am just like them. The pride in my heart mirrors theirs, these people whom Jesus so regularly condemns. This awareness birthed profound brokenness in me and a desire to live the life of a servant, which Jesus says makes a person truly great in His Kingdom. With true love for God in my heart, I have since then been regularly asking for dependency on Him and humility and grace to have a servant's heart. Then our pastor's wife asked if I would speak at our Women's Christmas dinner.
Ummmm... no. Of course not! Hello! I just learned how bent toward pride and arrogance I am, the last place in the world I need to be is on a stage. So imagine my surprise when Jimmy told me I should do it. Not only that, he said all my reasons to say no were based in fear and self-protection. He pointed out that I was trusting circumstances to save me from my sin of pride, not Jesus. Ouch. After much wrestling, I came to the same conclusion: none of my reasons to say no were God-glorifying. I had to say yes.
The irony of all this is that had I been asked to do this a few years prior, I would have jumped at the opportunity and subconsciously thought "It's about time!" But here I am, painfully aware of my pride having to face a stage, the surest snare of pride there is. Never have I felt more in need of God to save me from my sin than preparing for that event. Prayer for dependency. Answered.
Within a month of our Christmas dinner, I got 2 other opportunities to regularly write which were quickly confirmed by my husband and a few others as something I should say yes to. But Lord, these are the things that bring out my pride! Shouldn't I get rid of all this? This is where God's sweet message meets me exactly where I'm at:
Stop trying to do something for Me. Let Me redeem you.
The natural thought process for me in all these new writing ventures is that I am mainly doing this for the benefit of others or to please God. And maybe that's not a totally bad reason. But something I am convinced of is that this season of writing is mainly for my sanctification. My redemption. For God to put to death things in me that enslave me. He is causing a perfect storm of circumstances to showcase my self-sufficient, proud, and self-glorifying tendencies. Why? So that He can redeem me. Because I have A Great Redeemer who loves me enough not to leave me in my sin!
It is amazing, since starting to post things, I feel an immediate and sudden urge to find validation in all of this. I hate the stats page on these blog sites. Of course I want to know how many people viewed my blog! Of course I want to know what people are saying about me. I love me! Not only that, I find that I really want to impress others with how great of a writer I am. Yep, let's just get it out in the open and into the light: I want to impress you! And yet, I am supposed to do all things unto the glory of God?! Oh Jesus, please redeem me.
Oh how this brokenness has lead me to the cross. I have never been more grieved by my sin, more wowed by Christ's perfect life, more wrecked by His brutal death because of my sin. The cross of Christ is so much more precious to me than ever before. For the first time ever, I am starting "to sing joyfully of His righteousness" (ps 51:14) and not my own, because I realize any goodness in me is of Him anyway. Though painful to be this aware of my sin, I deeply desire for God to continue redeeming me.
Colossians 3:5 says "Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature." Those are strong words. Jesus also used strong language to describe how we should fight our sin: "If your right hand causes you to sin cut it off." (Matt 5:30) Knowing that this season of writing is mainly about my sanctification and redemption, I want to yield to God's work in me as much as possible. So, I will be doing more "off-the-cuff" writing like this post. My tendency is to present clean, polished, and excellent posts to impress others. There is nothing wrong with excellence, and in some of the other avenues of writing I currently have, I think excellence there is necessary and honors God. But since this blog is a place I have more freedom to write however I want, I feel like it would be a great exercise for me to post more often without overanalyzing and polishing off all my posts. Because, let's be honest, the reason I do that is often for my own glory.
So, just a heads up, you'll probably see more posts on here, but they will probably have more run-on sentences, more spelling errors, and won't be as organized. But through this exercise, I am praying God will redeem some of the sinfulness I see in my own heart. Praying for dependency and brokenness seemed like a pleasant thing at the time, but it sure does feel like death right now. Oh yeah, that's because it is a form of death! But "if a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24) May God fully crucify the old me that trusts in my own abilities and loves my own glory and make room for Christ to live in and through me and bear much fruit.