I want to prompt you to make clear observations about yourself, hard as that may be. If you don’t you will likely believe things that are just not true. The Bible instructs us not to think inaccurately about ourselves.
“By the grace given to me I say to everyone of you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3
Note here that the danger seems to be that we will give ourselves credit we don’t deserve. Thinking good about ourselves seems to be a human tendency and it is challenged in other ways as well. We are warned that we will think good about our ideas even when those ideas are deadly. How crazy is that?
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12
We are also told that our thinking is desperately inferior to God’s thinking. So all of our greatest insights are effectively foolishness compared with God’s understanding.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9
Our thinking is further messed up by the influence of deception and lies. Quite apart from our pride and the weakness of our own thoughts is the fact that we can be completely deceived. We can become blind to truth.
“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.” Jeremiah 5:21
“In them Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled, You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” Matthew 13:14
“I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2Corinthians 11:3
Then there’s the way our own heart deceives us.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
The point I am coming to is that many Christians lose sight of themselves, coming to vain ideas that suggest they are better than they are. They may even think they are doing things well, when they are not doing them at all.
We need humility of mind and an open heart toward God to allow us to see the truth about ourselves and accept the help God offers us.
In my youth, due to deep feelings of inferiority, I tried to look good in the eyes of others. I pretended to be cleverer and more talented than I was. That falseness became a barrier, blocking the good God wanted to do in me. In the same way, your wrong thinking about yourself will stop you getting the help you need.
In my case I was controlled by pride. I didn’t want people to think little of me. As a funny incident, I recall in my early years at primary school my teacher asked the class which of us could tie a shoelace. I put my hand up, even though I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to look inferior to others. The teacher then instructed all those who put up our hands to teach the others how to do it. Shocked, I stuck with my lie and struggled to work out how it was done. When I successfully tied the lace I was so excited I went to the teacher to brag that I could do it. She gave me a strange look. I already said I could do that.
When God began to challenge me about my falseness, in my late teens, I resisted God’s voice. I wanted to preserve my clumsy man-made solutions to my internal struggles. All the time I resisted God I was stuck in my foolishness. Only when I let God help me did I begin to become free. I am so glad God got through to me.
However, if the human heart is deceitful and if our pride convinces us our own ideas are right, we need to be very careful that we are not fooling ourselves about many things.
People who plan to give money away one day are not generous. They may simply be deluded. They will be generous when they finally do give that money to the needy.
We are not what we ‘think’ we are, but what we prove ourselves to be by what we do. If you think about something long enough you can believe you are doing it. But it’s just not true.
Let’s take a Bible instruction and use it as a prompt. We are told to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and to engage in some behaviours in response to that.
“Do not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-20
Do you obey the instruction in this verse? The average Christian, if asked if they are a reasonably good Christian, would say ‘Yes’. So, they would be doing what the Apostle Paul instructed. So, for you, is there melody in your heart to the Lord? Are you always giving thanks to God the Father for everything?
I heard tell yesterday of a wife who not only divorced her husband but has refused to give him access to his children. The court ordered that he has the right to access, so there is no legal impediment, but her heart is bitter toward him.
The question that was asked is, “What will come of her?” If we do not forgive we will not be forgiven, so that could put her in a very serious situation.
“If you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15
However, this lady is very involved in her church, working as a counsellor and busy doing all manner of good things.
Can you see the mismatch in her life? She is meant to have the fruit of a Christian life, by obeying Christ’s instruction to forgive. I dare say she will have convinced herself that what she is doing is the right thing. Her church most likely supports her attitudes toward her husband.
I don’t want any of you to be deluded about yourself, but to Think Soberly about who you are and where you stand. And if it turns out you are not in a good place, that’s not a problem. You can then come humbly to God and receive His grace. There is forgiveness, healing, rescue and hope, when you allow God into the reality of your world.
Open your heart to God and be real with Him today. No matter how big the mess, God can sort it out, as long as you face the truth about yourself and Think Soberly.