Friday, December 12, 2014

With Too Much Me

This afternoon, to satisfy my curiosity about how I've used this blog over the past 8 1/2 years, I read a few blog posts that I'd written in my first few years of  blogging. Decidedly lackluster, for the most part. Not too bad theologically, despite the obvious self-focus.

Sometimes, I feel trapped by myself. As much as I want to turn my gaze completely on the Lord, my thoughts and conversations always snake back to me. Yes, the habit grieves the Holy Spirit. It robs Him of His glory, and goes against so many Scriptures that I don't even know which one to quote! Worst of all, I know this battle against self-love, like all my other battles against sin, won't end until Jesus takes me home.

This struggle reminds me of a sonnet by Victorian poet Gerard Manly Hopkins:
THOU art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
  Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leavèd how thick! lacèd they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds build—but not I build; no, but strain,
Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.
Hopkins and I make the same mistake of trying to please God through our own efforts. We might understand that, as a convert to Roman Catholicism and a Jesuit priest, Hopkins would assign himself responsibility for his own sanctification. What's my excuse? As a Bible-believing Christian, don't I know that Jesus provides my victory, even over my selfish sin nature?

The writer of Hebrews, after  chronicling the great heroes of the faith, shows me that Jesus is the key to overcoming even the sin of self-focus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~~Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
If Jesus is the Perfecter of my faith, He asks only that  I confess my  egotism and rely on  His Spirit to  change me. He, in His faithfulness, will supply the grace I need to turn   my attention back to Him.

2 comments:

  1. I think if we are honest, all of us struggle in this way at times.

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  2. Lately I've been thinking on what I contribute to my relationship with Jesus, and that I am no different than the Pharisees who saw sins only in others, Peter who saw the truth about Jesus via the Holy Spirit one moment, and then doubted Jesus and what He must endure the next moment, the Jews who wanted (and still want today) their Messiah on their own terms, the multitudes who listened to the words of Jesus, saw the miracles in being fed with so few loaves and fishes, and only wanting more to feed on my lusts and desires...when I look on the many failures in scripture I see my own. I thank the Lord that He is faithful and forgiving, for sacrificing Himself to pay for my many sins, so that I can spend eternity with Him.

    ReplyDelete

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