I think it’s safe to say that majority of the time we refer to our self-image it’s in the context of outward beauty. It’s our figure, our hair color, our scars and marks; things that are obvious and appreciable. What we don’t often consider, is the inner workings of our ego. The part of ourselves that dictates a personal respect and personal worth. It lingers within our hearts as the thing that produces our confidence to move forward and put forth effort.
But it’s also the thing that keeps us at an arm’s length from Jesus.
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
This is not a “group” of Christians, but the entire church body. We are all called to humble ourselves before the Lord as His faithful followers. Jesus’ entire earthly ministry was a guide to this behavior and attitude. He was born into a small and isolated city, one not considered appropriate for a “king,” and grew up a carpenter. He was in every situation lowering Himself in the eyes of the world when truthfully, He was and is greater than it all.
But we often hear this message and miss the command; we see what we want to see so we can play naïve in the scenarios our selfishness desires. Meaning, Jesus is commanding us to boast in Him rather than ourselves, yet we allow our pride to hide itself in the inner workings of our heart. We think if it’s quiet, it’s not hurting anything. If it’s seldom, it’s innocent. But Jesus’ earthly walk was more than just a story of His strength alone, it was a story of what we can now do through Him because He did it for us.
As I sat in my car after a long day at work, I was appalled at the pride I had been harvesting for months. My fiancé was bold enough to call me on it, that I had taken what I convinced myself to be innocent, to the extreme of lifting myself on a pedestal, and my work below me. I have no idea when it started, but I am overwhelmed with grace that I have stepped out of the shadow and fallen onto my knees where I belong.
You see, I’ve heard the story of His humble character numerous times. I could quote it, site it, yet living it I failed. Our image is dangerously tempting and one of the strongest avenues the enemy has to our heart. Our culture and sin are built on it. One of the first things Adam and Eve did after the fall was cover themselves because of shame. Our self-image, both physically and mentally has become a benchmark to live our lives off of. It’s deafening how often in a day we don’t realize we grade ourselves among our peers. We either lift ourselves high or put ourselves down; either way is detrimental for who we are.
I was caught in a trap of justifying my scale because of the views I had. I thought the way I approached things was the right way and therefore everyone else was in the wrong. I felt innocent, because of my stance. But what I’ve learned so often lately is that our “right and wrong” is conditioned (view this topic here) because everyone thinks differently. The only truth to be preached is the good news of Jesus Christ, and everything outside of that is human emotion and thought.
Therefore, we are called to love our neighbor, listen first, speak in love, and forgive. Because we are all guilty of wrongs, and we are all sinners at heart. So, humble yourself before the Lord, because He is the only truth and the only One worthy of being lifted high. We are in an inevitability of falling short of grace and delicacy, so we lean on Him and rely on Him for the motivation to move forward and live our lives as servants unto Him. Servants. We are His to use in His kingdom, and our self-worth is laid out in that truth rather than the worldly job, title, or purpose we proclaim ourselves.
Forgive me for the pride I’ve allowed into my heart. Let me lay it down at your feet, for I am not worthy enough to have such a thing. The only boasting I should ever do is in your word and for your kingdom. Let that be my cry and my purpose Lord. Do not let me forget my placement as your humble servant. Let that be my thought every morning and my agenda every day.