I don't really like myself. No, that's not true - often I really don't like myself but the rest of the time I spend my life admiring myself. It's funny, well actually more like disgusting, to me to watch how I vacillate between arrogance and disgust. What's even more ironic is that those two thoughts, or emotions, could co-exist within the same person. I find myself all too often applauding my efforts because I'm "better" than those around me. Then I move directly into a time of great disgust and frustration because I see myself for who I really am. Even then, though, I don't really honor God with my actions. Instead of recognizing my faults, and turning to Him, I instead spend too much time wallowing in self-pity, and secretly hoping that others will "feel bad" for me too, and avoid recognizing my shortcomings. As I thought about these things recently I was listening to the new Chris Tomlin cd, See the Morning, that came out this week. The last song on the cd is a remake of "Amazing Grace" which happens to be my favorite song. In it Tomlin sings a verse that I had not heard before. I did a little research and came across it in Wikipedia.
- The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
- The sun forbear to shine;
- But God, who call'd me here below,
- Will be forever mine.
- As I listened to that song, I was humbled by the reality that God loves me, even when I'm arrogant, or self-absorbed. I know we hear that often, but this time it was so remarkable. As I sit in the midst of my pride that I've struggled with for years; and as I wallow in the midst of my pity, rather than repentance, as I have for years, His love for me has never waned. That is powerful, is it not?
- I was thinking about this thought some more and so I turned to scripture and was reading the greatest portion of scripture, some would argue, in reference to God's grace - the book of Hosea. Listen to the words of chapter 2 verse 23.
I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.' "
God's grace really is amazing, isn't it? I know you've heard this a million times, and I'm sure you're likely to simply skim these thoughts and move on, and that's ok. If, however, you have a moment, then meditate for a little while on grace today. Take a moment to be renewed by God's love of you. If you are overwhelmed with your own failures; if you can't seem to get beyond your own lack of holiness, than take a moment to consider these words, found in Zephaniah 3:15-17.
15 The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, "Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
...that saved a wretch like me...