A few minutes ago I came upon this verse paraphrased in the Message:
"Living then, as every one of you does in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him."
I know I am guilty of misinterpreting myself as one who brings goodness to God. This isn't one of those offenses brought to our attention. It isn't a loud offense. But its silent and deadly poison is potent enough to starch our hearts piece by piece until our existence is crispy and flaking in the paralysis of pride. This offense isn't popular to talk about or think about. It is looked over, swept aside, and pushed down under. At least I know it has been in my own heart. But, yet again, the culprit is pride. Pride that suggests in an ever so elegant almost imperceptible voice that I am in some way worthy of God's love and even acceptance because of some merit of my own. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. His sacrifice is instantly cheapened. After all, it must be something admirable or wise or smart in me that pushed me toward accepting Christ and his forgiveness. Something that others who haven't accepted him don't have or at least don't have yet. Or even the lurking wisp of a thought that they are only able to accept Christ out of his immense grace while I have somehow done him and myself a favor by accepting his love.
It's almost been three months in Austria now. I'm not sure words can adequately express how uncomfortable it is to begin to see yourself as you truly are. But what an exhilarating adventure! I am finding that it is truly the honor of my life and the joy of my renewed heart to learn to rely on the grace God gives to those he is humbling. Am I humble? No, a thousand no's. At least not yet. But, in confidence I say that he will finish his work. In this I take delight.
"He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."
Here's the thing. He sees me (us in Christ) as righteous. Not when he's through with my heart, but right now. In, through, and because of Jesus I am seen as pure by the One who defines purity.
He delights in me with gladness. Because he first delighted in me, I am learning to delight myself in him. He rejoices over me with joyful songs.
"The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together."