The Difficulty of
We all know that babies do not remain babies for life, nor are they intended to be. Birth is a starting point, not an end.
In the same way, our Christian walk does not end with being born again by God's spirit through faith in the atoning work of Christ. The “new birth” of spiritual life and awareness is but a starting point. The objective is Christlikeness and wholeness, becoming all we were designed to be in Him. We are born again for this purpose... to grow and mature, to be “like Him.” (I John 3:2)
One of the keys to growth involves becoming aware of our own deficiencies and defects so we can transform them or overcome them. Such an awareness is a tremendous problem because we have so many things working against us. First, such knowledge hurts our pride and makes us uncomfortable. Second, our hearts tend to deceive us. And finally, we have an enemy who likewise is a deceiver.
Our hearts deceive us
We live in a fallen world, are born into a world that is not as it should be. Everything, including our own selves, has been stained. We are “damaged goods”, only dimly aware of our divine origin.
One result of being born into a
fallen world is that our own hearts tend toward self-centeredness, not only
deceiving others but serving to deceive even ourselves. Jeremiah wrote,
“The heart is deceitful above all things.” (Jer 17:9) In other words, our
own perceptions are -- to a certain extent -- unreliable and
untrustworthy. This ought to humble us and make us less
often and quickly we
defend ourselves saying, “I didn’t do anything wrong. Why is everyone
upset with me? If they could only see things from my point of
view.” Even murderers say things like this. “I had no
choice. He pushed me and pushed me and I had to do something, so I shot
him. It wasnąt my fault.”
Dale Carnegie in his book “How to
Win Friends and Influence People” tells the story of a notorious killer
nicknamed “Two Gun”
Yes, it is our nature to feel
like we’re right, that we are justified in our actions, almost any
actions. We excuse our sins with elaborate explanations of how our
parents, our circumstances and our genes conspired to make us thus. But
when we stand before God, the mirror of our acts will speak on our behalf and
God will not be deceived.
The enemy of our souls deceives us
Jesus calls the devil “The Deceiver” (Matt 27:63) and for good reason. In the Gospel of John our Lord not only says the Devil is a liar, but also the “father of all lies.” Satan is like a bad well that has polluted all mankind. In the Book of Revelations we find that Satan’s career is given to deceiving the whole world. (Rev 12:9; 13:14)
Hickam, in his book The
Coalwood Way, made an interesting observation with regard to
relationships. “The reward is always to the persistent over the
weary.” He made this statement with reference to a situation in which he
had been the persistent one. Of course we see this all the time where a
strong person gets their way through sheer force of will. It also explains
why parents all too often give way to their kids, even when they shouldnąt,
because they are worn out with saying no.
So too, Satan is persistent,
perpetually bombarding us with lies until we either grab hold of God's word and
resist him (the essence of spiritual warfare) or through weariness give up and
For this reason we must keep our
minds in the Word, our sword and shield against the devil’s assualts. No
wonder so many people just give in to the lies society feeds them. They
are tired of doing battle, tired of trying to figure things out, believing
łwell, Iąm just one person and it doesn’t matter anyways.”
Hey, that is a lie. One
person can change history. That “one person” can be any of us.
Esther, Moses, Joshua, Peter... each was a single individual who responded when
the Lord called. Each one grew as he or she took the next step of
obedience. Each one made a difference. Even a cleaning lady can change the
course of nations. (See the story of Naaman, II Kings
The Way to Self-Understanding
In Psalm 25 David writes, “Teach me Thy ways, O Lord.” This attitude of teachableness is the hallmark of humiility. Humility prepares the heart for revelation. Humility makes us receptive to truth.
The second thing is to allow the
light of God’s Word to penetrate our hearts. In another place the Psalmist
writes, “In Your light we see light.” This takes great courage to allow the
light of God’s Word to penetrate the dark places of our hearts. It’s very
difficult to take sometimes, because sometimes the truth hurts. Most of us
are far more selfish and
self-centered than we’d like to believe.
The amazing thing is that in
spite of all that, God sent His son to die for us. When we see ourselves
as we really are, it’s truly astonishing. We're not worthy, yet He clothes us in
His worthiness and says, “I have made you in My image and have a purpose for
Get hold of that truth and it
will both humble and invigorate you. Praise God.