I’m so thankful for the gifts God’s has given me through the years to have such encouraging people around me. It is a joy to see the gifts God has given to others and to be able to share that with you all, today. This is a guest post from the student minister at FBC Fulton, Ky–Alex Robinson.
When I read it this morning, I was convicted and left with hopefulness beyond measure in the grace of the Lord. I guess spending so much time recently in the letters to the Corinthians and by the work of the Holy Spirit caused me to think of these verses after reading this post.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.(2 Cor. 5:14-15)
I hope you will benefit as much as I did from this. Enjoy!
Lovers of self. Proud. Arrogant. Ungrateful. Swollen with conceit. These are just a few of the descriptions that Paul gives to Timothy (2 Tim. 3) regarding how people will be in the last days. Ouch! C.H. Spurgeon once described pride as the “first-born son of hell” and said it is indeed like its parent. Have you ever been guilty of this vice? I dare say you’re a liar if you say no and at once you are guilty of the very thing you profess not to have. Our pride is the one thing we are quick to hide yet also the one thing that comes out of us so frequently in our selfish actions. It is the impulse within us to ignore the world around us and the God who created us and go our own way. I speak from experience. Oh, how often I’ve been caught in the pangs of pride and selfishness. This battle carries on each day of my life. So, I do not write as one who has mastered this grievous appetite for self-exaltation but as one who daily wages war against it.
We are self- loving creatures. This ancient foe has been crafted to pull in a great multitude of the faithful people of God and you and I better be on guard that we are not swayed by its falsehood. Many great men of God have been pulled away from the ministry by committing grievous sins, but I contend that many more have been swept away by this one. Even in our attempt at piety, we fall on the rocks of pride. We come from a long line of people who have given themselves over to pride. It starts with an angel who was not content with the glories of heaven- all because those glories were not his own. Our first parents loved themselves and believed the lie that they could “be like God” and so they sought their own glory rather than the glory of their creator. Sound familiar? Of course, it does- first because you have seen it in the word of God over and over. You’ve been warned by example and by exhortation. Yet a very close second, this sounds familiar because you have witnessed it in your own heart. We tend quickly to turn inward. Our world is of no help as it exclaims things like “listen to your heart”, “love yourself” and “take care of #1”. Our hearts are wicked and deceitful, and this is where this love of self originates.
Why do you exist? If you listen to your wicked heart, you might say, “I exist to make much of myself” although your heart is so deceitful, you’d never admit it with your words, but your actions well demonstrate it. You put yourself first many times each day. You think of yourself more than you think of God and others. You even carry out religious acts with prideful, selfish motives undergirding those acts. You love yourself. You’re proud. You’re arrogant. You’re ungrateful. You’re swollen with conceit. What is the consequence for this kind of living? Destruction. Proverbs 16:18 reminds us that “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Is that not what happened to Adam and Eve in the garden? Now we refer to their prideful sinning as the Fall of man.
How can we be rescued of this great evil that seeks to destroy us? How can we turn from thinking we exist for ourselves and behold the true reason for our existence? The grace of God is the answer. This is our great need in our lowly condition. This grace and mercy of our God that comes to us in Christ Jesus is what we need. Our God bids us to cry out to Him. He calls us to feel ourselves lost, ruined and undone. To feel and sing “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.” To realize our helpless estate and be deceived by our pride no longer. That we are creatures made from the dirt and we deserve nothing good from God for our glory- robbing. We cannot bring rescue to our wicked souls. We must see ourselves bankrupt.
So, lovers of self, this is the call to be free. To live without the constant pressure to impress. To live not for a glory that is fading but one that will outlast all of man’s glory put together. To cast yourself wholly upon the merits of Jesus Christ and realize you have none of your own. This is the gift of God, but this gift is one he gives to humble men, women, boys and girls. He says over and over again that it is the humble that he gives His grace to, but it is the proud and arrogant whom he resists. May God graciously give us the gift of self- de- exaltation and usher us into the joy that comes from living lives that exalt the only one worthy of all praise, power, honor and glory. May he give us eyes that look to the savior who left the comforts and glories of heaven and condescended to meet us in flesh on this sin- torn earth. He made his estate with lowly sinners and died that they may be set free from lives wasted on their own fleeting glory. Now though, he is exalted in the heavens as the one who will be gloried in for all eternity. By His grace, may he bring us from where we esteemed him not to where we humbly bow before his glorious throne. Whether we bow now or not, we will bow on that day when every knee should bow and tongue confess that He is Lord- to the Glory of God. With our words (tongue) and with our actions (knee) we will one day finally be humbled. Fellow sinner, I bid you to be humbled today under the mighty hand of God, whatever it takes, so that you will on that day rejoice and worship in your de exaltation and his eternal exaltation!