so jonathan challenged us this past sunday with the idea that whenever you’ve been humbled or had sin revealed in your life it’s a big-time indicator that you’ve just stepped into God’s classroom. well, apparently God’s enrolled me full-time this semester because i have had a few very specific instances within the last few weeks in which this truth has been impressed upon me (whether i welcomed it or not).
it’s always when life squeezes that the real me comes out. the circumstances, pressures, and trials in life have an almost annoying ability to reveal what’s truly going on inside my heart. and whenever something nasty comes out (like a sinful response to circumstances or people) it’s usually an indication that God is putting up construction signs, rolling up His sleeves and going to work…molding, shaping and refining me to look more like His Son. and while He’s busy working on me, He’s also teaching me…
and the question becomes, “ok, God, what are you trying to teach me through this? what is it in my heart that’s not reflecting your glory? what are you wanting to change? how can i become more like Christ?”
i’ve been asking this a lot lately as i’ve sensed class beginning for yet another lesson God’s wanting to teach me…and i’ve begun to notice a common thread:
i think way too highly of myself.
and that is a huge offense to my great God who alone deserves all the glory and honor and praise. that’s got to change! let me summarize a few ways God’s been cluing me in to this realization:
1. the other day i actually got mad at God for not answering my prayer to shorten the process and time involved in registering my vehicle in NC. what a selfish prayer to begin with…and how arrogant and foolish to basically call God unjust and question His kindness and goodness over a stupid little inconvenience at the DMV! He was answering my prayer…i just didn’t like His answer because i thought i deserved better…
2. i was boiling inside over the nerve of one of my coworkers at Starbucks who dared to tell me how to do a task the correct way, and she had to do it in front of customers making me look like some naive rookie instead of an accomplished barista (for crying out loud i’ve been doing this for over a month now!) *i hope you’re picking up on the sarcasm here. and besides, i’m her supervisor! she’s below me. she shouldn’t be talking to me like that! i think my position deserves a little more respect!
3. just after an incident of having to discipline my daughter for her disobedience the question popped into my head: am i disciplining my daughter for her sake…or for mine? am i doing this because i love her and want her to come to know and love Christ? or am i doing this because i think i deserve obedient kids? …because i don’t want people to think i let my kid run wild? …because i don’t want to be embarrassed by her rebellion? …because i want people to be impressed with my parenting skills?
hmmm…i guess i do think too highly of myself. this is definitely pride in my heart that God is revealing to me. i guess i thought i was doing pretty good (another indication of pride) because i wasn’t having to learn any tough lessons…wow. pride is an ugly thing. in fact, james 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” no wonder He’s been calling me into His classroom to chat…my pride puts me in opposition to my God. and that’s a place i don’t want to be.
but praise God for His grace!!! verse 7 of james 4 then tells us to submit to God. i don’t know if the lesson God’s teaching me resonates with you, but whatever it is that He’s trying to do in and through you…let me just encourage you to submit to it. let Him work. walk in obedience, setting your minds on the things of the Spirit, listening to truth and eager to become more like Christ.
and do one more thing for me…hold me accountable to submitting and learning my lessons too. God’s not finished with us yet, and i’m trusting and praying for you “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (phil. 1:6).