A Light in a World of Darkness

light_houseNo one likes a proud, arrogant, boastful person who thinks more highly of themselves than they should. On the other hand, no one wants to follow a person who lacks confidence in their talents and abilities to perform. Would you want to fly in an airplane with a pilot who wasn’t quite sure he or she knew how to navigate the airplane? Would you agree to go under the knife with a physician who lacked confidence in his or her abilities to perform the surgical procedure?

There is definitely a thin line between confidence and conceit. We all step over the line at times, but that does not mean we should not expect great things from ourselves. We all need a character that is able to withstand conflict and adversity and this means having confidence in our abilities.

What? Did I say confidence? Yes, and I mean what I say here. There is nothing wrong with a confident person who takes a healthy pride in what they do. Jesus tell us to let our LIGHT SHINE so they will see our GOOD WORKS (Matthew 5:16). But the problem that most of us have is giving God the credit for those works. Jesus finished the statement by saying “and glorify your father which is in heaven.”

There was a little girl who was drawing a picture at her desk at school. Another little girl asked, “What are you drawing?”

“A picture of God,” she answered.

“That is silly,”the other girl said, “No one knows what God looks like!”

“They will when they see my picture,” the little girl replied confidently and kept scribbling away on her paper.

I admire the confidence of that little girl. She was certain that other people would get a better idea of God after she finished her drawing. Are we not called to represent God to the world? What kind of picture of Jesus are we drawing for those around us?

I know this article will make some people uncomfortable. We are taught to value humility as Christians. But where do we draw the line between humility and humiliation? Are we to walk around with a sad look on our face and complain about our inability to do anything right? We need to stay away from the extremes on either side of this issue–balance is key to a proper understanding of self in our Christian walk with God.

There is much wisdom in having a healthy balance between confidence and humility–for false humility is as much a sin as overconfidence. In fact here is King Solomon: “Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” (Ecclesiastes 7: 16-18, NASB).

King Solomon is warning about going to extremes of self-righteousness on one hand and self-destructiveness on the other. A proper view of ourselves should be that we admit that we are not perfect, but that we should also have confidence in the power of God. Yes, our righteousness is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) but on the other hand we can do all things through the power of Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). This should be our proper perspective of self.

A Christian knows that he or she is not worthy of salvation anymore than anyone else on the planet. But we don’t dwell on our weakness, because Christ is our strength. Having this understanding will keep us from being conceited, while at the same time enable us to maintain a healthy confidence in what Christ is able to do through us as His human ambassadors. We are not worthy, but we are worth it in the end. Why? Because Jesus shed His divine blood for our sins.

Are we going to continue to play the victim of our own sinfulness, or are we going into spiritual battle with the dark forces of evil? We can have confidence in the fact that Christ has overcome the world and now we are able to overcome the devil through the power of His blood.

Jesus commands us in the opening of His Sermon on the Mount:

1. Let your light shine.
2. Let others see your good works.
3. Give God the glory and the praise.

We are not called to be conceited, cocky, arrogant, or boastful. But we are called to have a healthy perspective of self that takes into consideration our imperfections while lifting up the power of Christ. We are the family of the King of All Creation. We are the Sons and Daughters of God.

~Stephen Beagles

The Ultimate Command of God

love

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” ~1 John 4:11

It is in our sinful human nature to be self-centered and want revenge on those who have caused us pain. But Christ showed us a better way by insisting that we change our human perspective and treat other people the way God treats us.

Each of us has a death sentence hanging over our head, and God would be completely justified if He gave us what we deserve. But instead of wiping us out of existence, He provides a pardon to all who  trust in the merits of His beloved Son–Jesus Christ. Since God has forgiven our sins, we are called to love and forgive our fellow human beings.

Jesus taught us to pray “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

We do not serve God out of fear for He loves us and offers us the gift of salvation. Instead we obey God out of love for having rescued us from eternal death. Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Our motivation for obedience is love–and if God can love us then we should love others in the same way. Our motivation for loving others comes from knowing that God has loved us first.

Not one of us is perfect, and it would be unreasonable to expect that others will be perfect. We have all offended God’s law, but He is willing to forgive. Why shouldn’t we be willing to forgive? Instead of lashing out at those who treat us badly, let us remember the many times we have treated others poorly. If God forgives our trespasses then we ought to forgive others.

“We love because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:9

~Stephen Beagles