We are a people who need to be reminded. Not like a pop up that you have an appointment or meeting...like a deep reminder of who we are. I know I need that reminder. Especially when I forget who I am in the eyes of my Creator - who I am in His eyes without Christ, and who I am in His eyes in Christ.
It's so important for us, as Christians (and for someone to come to faith) to first and foremost be humbled. And not just a "oh I'm so humbled you thought of me" or "this is a humbling experience"...humbled in front of a Holy, perfect God.
We did a family devotional at Sky Ranch (the camp we went to last month; oh look at that, a second plug!), and the first day's content is a perfect example of the stage we need to set (and the stage we need to step down from, consequently). We are not perfect. NO ONE is..no one except Jesus that is. We serve a perfect God who does no wrong - and if He looks upon us as we are...we are no better than filthy rags. We don't deserve to know Him; to be in His presence. We don't deserve the grace He extends in every breath and certainly don't deserve the grace extended through the work of Jesus. God is perfect and we are not. That is what I mean to humble myself. I often need to feel the gravity of that. Let me restate that: every minute of every day, I need to feel the gravity of that.
Then, only then, can I understand the magnitude of what Jesus did for me and the immeasurable nature of His grace. Only then, can I truly look at the cross and collapse to my knees in humility.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3:23-25)
Last week in yoga (it's so funny, yoga and my middle son - for whatever reason - tend to be the two avenues the Lord uses to speak directly to my soul). Anyway, last week in yoga, the instructor was explaining a pose (forearm plank...if you don't know what that is, here is a fun little cartoon version):
In forearm plank you can have an obtuse (> 90 degrees) or a right (= 90 degrees) angle in your arms. However, you cannot have an acute (< 90 degrees) angle because this would strain your shoulders as they would pass stacking on top of your elbows...I digress. You have two angles available in this pose...and the instructor says:
"Choose the angle that best serves you."
The Spirit pressed in hard after that comment to REMIND ME: That, exactly, is our sin. We want to choose the angle that best serves us...moment to moment. We want to be God, and choose what is right and what is wrong for us; what is right and what is wrong in this world. It manifests in how I justify an action or decision. I choose the lens that best serves my motives. I look at the world through prideful and selfish eyes (even in my most selfless moments, I cannot pretend I am not selfish or self-fulfilling in my motives and actions...even deep, deep down.)
As a whole, that is how humanity functions, and it's been this way since the beginning.
I have been doing a study on Biblical Theology and there was a light bulb instance for me: It was when I went back to the Garden of Eden, back to man's original sin: Adam and Eve taking the fruit. The sin wasn't that they now had the knowledge of good or evil; rather, they became the ones who desire to decide what was good and evil. At that point, ingrained in our heart was the desire to "choose the angle that best serves us". Humanity became this subjective judge of - based on society, personal desires, momentary gains - what is right or wrong...what is (in our eyes) good or not. We cannot be the judge of that because, that lens I was talking about, it wedges us away from the Lord's design and will for us - it takes us away from solid ground.
We have a rock solid gift from God through His word. It is His story. From who we are to, primarily, who He is and what that means...it gives us so much wisdom to walk in this world. He designed the world and us...for joy. And He gives us a way to learn all about that. Why would we not turn to Him for the answers?
I need the Lord to remind me.
Of the gravity of our sin...
The depth of hurt we bring on ourselves in our desire to "play God"...
The great fault in my tendency to turn to the world, to others, to my own desires to decide what is right and wrong...
That this is a huge offense to a Holy God, who has no obligation to forgive us...
I need the reminder that my lens is foggy (at best) without Jesus guiding me. That His word, His will, His way is the only way we live the life we were designed to have.
And the best part about this reminder is the HOPE. In direct response to who we are in light of a Holy God, to how offensive and dirty and undeserving we are...in direct response to our constant rebellion; He loves us anyway. He created us knowing we would do this to ourselves; He created us anyway. He knew even after He suffered, died and rose, we would resist Him still; He chases us down anyway.
And in His eyes - through the blood of Christ - we are perfect. We are His. Nothing can take that away. Nothing we go through today, no sin we commit, no way we fail will change the way He sees us in Christ.
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galations 3:26-28)