Thursday, April 17, 2014

How Good Of A Christian Are You, Really?

I can bet you’re not as good as you think you are.

I always thought of myself as a “good girl”. I was convinced I fell under that category and I was quick to point the finger at others and call them “bad” for doing things that were sinful. (I remember specifically viewing girls in school that were promiscuous with disdain.)  Because of that mindset, I was rather self-righteous and judgmental. Not too long ago, I had my spiritual awakening and decided to make God the center of my life and start building a relationship with Jesus Christ…for real. And one wonderful, sometimes painful, part of living for God is learning the truth about yourself and other people. 

Self-righteousness is a direct insult to God and blocks His grace in your life. 

As I’ve grown in my walk with Christ, the Holy Spirit has exposed to me more truths about myself than I ever cared to know. One of them being that I had no right to call myself a “good girl” because I have no claim over such a title. No one does. Why? Because the true title for all people is sinner. The more the Holy Spirit exposed the truth to me the more I realized I was much farther from the “good girl” title than I thought. I was comfortable with a lot of sins in my life. I was proud and believed I was “better” than people. I was comfortable telling lies – and yes, white lies are still lies folks. I was self-righteous. I was a HOT MESS. I know now that any good deed I’ve ever done and ever will do is attributed to the glory of God and His power within me. It is by God’s grace and my faith in Jesus that I have been saved and NOTHING else.  To try and claim that I am the “good” would mean that I am worthy of divine praise which is wrong – God is. (This doesn’t mean you can’t receive a compliment about a good deed you’ve done; it means you must graciously receive the compliment without bragging and remind yourself that the glory is God’s and NOT yours.)

Self-righteousness is a direct insult to God and blocks His grace in your life. 

The most shameful part of self-righteousness is the audacity it gives us to be judgmental. Be honest. How many people have you seen and said, “Oh no, look at what she just did. She is such a bad person. I could never do a thing like that!” I know I’ve happily indulged such thoughts in the past. And why not? It puts the focus on someone else’s sin and allows you to “forget” about your imperfect behavior or make your sins seem “less bad”. I hate to break it to you but, SIN IS SIN. Pride, self-righteousness, sexual immorality, lying, murder, and the rest of the lot are ALL sin. It doesn’t matter how big you think someone else has sinned or how small you think you’ve sinned, you have still offended God. And if you like spending your time criticizing and insulting the abominable things that people who don’t believe in God do, I ask you to consider this: How can you who believes in God and in the evil of sin still go about your daily life in sin and claim to be better than an unbeliever? They don’t believe so of course they will openly and comfortably sin! What is your excuse? 

Self-righteousness is a direct insult to God and blocks His grace in your life. 

You cannot afford to be judgmental, of believers or unbelievers, because you too are a sinner. It would be ludicrous. You too have your stumbling moments. You too tell lies. (Don’t lie and say you don’t.) You too go around indulging all of your sexually immoral desires. You too steal. You too are full of pride and self-righteousness. You too hold grudges and fail to forgive those who offend you – even though Jesus Christ gave His life so we, sinners, could be forgiven. Imagine the hypocrisy. (Sometimes I laugh at how foolish I was to have held grudges.)

Self-righteousness is a direct insult to God and blocks His grace in your life.

If you want to be a true Christian, you’ve got to cut the self-righteous nonsense out. You’ve got to stop thinking you’re “good enough” and accept that you will forever have room to grow in faith because you can literally fail at any second of any day. (Think of the stories of recovering alcoholics who’ve gone 15, 20 years without a drop of liquor and then fall off the wagon in an instant. If you prefer Biblical references, think of King David who was called “a man after God’s own heart” – he gave into his lustful desires and murdered a man for his wife.) You’ve got to stop being judgmental. FYI, God is in the forgiving business so you need to be too. He forgave King David for murder when he repented. God has been forgiving murderers and liars and prostitutes and self-righteous folks, when they repent, for centuries - the key is to be repentant.

 Self-righteousness is a direct insult to God and blocks His grace in your life.

Condemning other people will never change the fact that you have sinful areas within yourself that you need to work on with Christ. You’ve got to focus on YOUR improvement. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you with such reverence and love for God that you are convicted not to sin, even though you’ll surely be tempted to at times.  Be merciful and encourage people that are struggling with sin, don’t insult them or beat them down! If they don’t want your help, then pray for them. And while you’re at it, pray for yourself too. Spend time reading the Word (you can find out about all the types of sin in the Bible), learning about God, and mirroring the life of Christ in your daily life. The more you realize how meek and humble Christ was, the more you accept that it makes no sense for you to be any other way. 

If the Son of God was humble, what on earth would make you think you can afford to be prideful and self-righteous? 

I now know I can’t. I have a feeling neither can you.  

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Disclaimer#1: You are told not to judge people; that does not mean you should join them in their sin. I'm sure you've heard of the saying, "bad company corrupts good morals". If you know someone is doing something wrong, it would be foolish to tell them they are right so as not to “hurt” their feelings or “offend” them. Better to tell them the truth (gently – I’m still learning this) and hopefully inspire them to fully live for Christ than to placate their ego and leave them damned to sin. 

Disclaimer#2: Just because you are a sinner and will have temptations in life does not mean you have a “sinner pass” to go out and happily indulge in sin. What it means is that you should draw closer to God NOW, more than ever before, study the teachings of Christ, walk in faith daily with Him, learn how to exercise self-control and self-discipline, and thank God for His loving grace that saves. The more you grow in Christ, the more you’ll think and act like Him, and the less you’ll sin or even desire to sin. 
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