A Reason for Humility (Let me not take credit for Your work, Lord)

2 Aug

Jeremiah 17:9:  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?”

I John 2:27:  “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:  but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

It is a startling feature of God’s grace that in many cases where we have gained a victory in our lives, He will remain anonymously at the sidelines, having done 98% of the work, and let us take credit for all of it.

This is one of the most naive things we do in our grace walk with Him. It is absolutely invisible to us, when we are doing it, but it is one of the things that angers us most when other people do it, because it is, by definition, something we can never see in ourselves but can often surmise in others.

When we take credit for God’s work in our lives, the process is much larger in scale, and much more naive in belief, than watching a young child pick up a toy stethoscope and believe he is a real doctor or build a bridge of Legos and believe she is a real structural engineer. Unless God grants us the gift of true humility, we may never see that there are vast parts of our own hearts we don’t yet know.  We may never know until someday, when we see ourselves through heavenly glasses, that we have been quite  capable of claiming credit for the things God did in our lives.

The above two Scriptures are what can be termed “balancing Scriptures.”  Our hearts are deceitful.  We are given an anointing from God (at salvation) that teaches us all things.  These two things do not contradict each other, nor even cancel each other out.  They are both true, but must be looked at in balance, within the entire weight of Scripture.

From my experience of 53 years of life thus far, I would say we tend to err on the side of overestimating our own ability to live within God’s anointing, thinking we are free of self-delusion.  We also overestimate the deceitfulness of the hearts of others, minimizing their ability to hear from God and to live within His anointing.

So we think ourselves to be free of delusion, but we find those around us to be full of delusion.  And they think the same about us, and the other people surrounding them.  Pretty much demonstrates the inconsistency of the human heart, doesn’t it?

Our lack of ability to harmonize and balance those two verses tells me that we are not finished products yet.  The fact is that we all live within the reality of those two verses.  We are not very different from each other, as we go through this journey of becoming more like Christ.

The very fact that I always give myself credit for good motives, even when my actions go astray, shows my self-interest.

The fact that I can easily condemn someone else based on external observation alone,   shows me that I, like most Christians around me, am a very bad judge of anything.  We can’t see anyone’s heart nor their motives, yet we constantly write a backstory for others that portrays them in the worst light imaginable.

I can’t accurately judge the wickedness of my own heart.  I can’t accurately judge the sincere attempts of others to grow in grace.  I can’t accurately balance between self-interest and the interests of others, as God tells me to do throughout the Scriptures.

Truth is, I will stand in heaven someday, with my self-delusion finally and totally removed, and realize there were times that I naively gave myself credit for great Christian growth and spirituality when all that happened was I got out of the way and partnered a little bit with a very great God!

I will realize that, just as I gazed with compassion on my son and other little children who built bridges of Legos, then beamed in pleasure as I called them great structural engineers, so I stood before a holy God clutching my works made of wood and beaming as He covered them in His own precious metals and turned them into works that would not burn up on that great Judgment Day.  For even the works I present to Him then will be His works in me, not of my own righteousness, however much credit I give myself for them now.

There is no reason to stand before our Holy God in anything other than abject humility.  However, the good news is that He loves us; He loves it when we realize our limitations before Him.  He will gaze on us with the same compassion we use with those children playing at their childish games with Legos.  He knows we are but dust.  And He cares for us anyway.

He will cheer our merest efforts to grow toward Him.  He will impart His greatness in our smallness.  He is our very great cause for rejoicing.  Thank You, Lord Jesus!

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One Response to “A Reason for Humility (Let me not take credit for Your work, Lord)”

  1. Donald August 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM #

    Excellent! The only comment I’d see is all too often because of this it’s been my observation (for what that’s worth) we tend to want to play to the lest common denominator in our own rational efforts, then pat ourselves on the back for our victories.

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