I receive a daily devotional from Rick Warren in my email. You can read it @ http://www.rickwarren.org. it was the July 11, 2013 devotional. I always appreciate his plain, straight forward, but insightful perspective. This particular one struck me, because in a real sense, I’ve still got that human perspective that my value is wrapped up in my “performance” and my performance has always been a little on the sketchy side, to say that least. I mean, even when I “perform well” there is always my motives to consider.
Jesus put a whole lot of emphasis on attitude and motive. He said you could do the right thing and if it was for the wrong reason it could render the act void or useless. The goal of every Christian should be glorifying God. i.e., 1 Corinthians 10:31. even in the most necessary and basic of human functions, such as eating and drinking.
So, back to attitude and motive. Ephesians 4:15- “…speaking the truth in love…” Sharing the truth is the action, but love is the attitude and motive. Together they produce righteousness. Kinda like 1 + 1 = 2….Another example is Satan’s temptation to Jesus in the desert, turn stones into bread. Acceptable action, satisfying hunger. Wrong motive, I’ll satisfy my own needs when and how I want. Jesus saw through this “innocent temptation” and passed the test! He trusted himself to the Father’s care.
Now that I’ve opened Pandora’s box of attitude and action walking hand in hand (FYI, to my younger audience. The phrase “to open Pandora’s box” means to perform an action that may seem small or innocuous, but that turns out to have severe and far-reaching consequences….there’s nothing further reaching than eternity.) where does this incredible value that God has placed on us lowly human beings come into play?
When we first come to Christ we have to realize two things; we are sinners, born and bred. We sin naturally, result of the fall. We sin intentionally, “I can navigate life on my own terms.” The second thing we have to realize is, God has put this incredible value on us, His creation and has provided a way for redemption. If we understand both of those realities and accept God’s gracious offer of salvation, we are recreated in Christ.( 2 Corinthians 5:17) But for many of us there is an imbalance in these two realities and the ” I’m a dirty low life sinner, don’t ever refer to me as a saint!” wins out.
Thus, we stunt our growth, our faith and the enormous potential for the “good works God has prepared for us.”
This is not the cultural crap (pardon my crudeness) of seeing myself as a good person. This is value placed on me by the value of the One, True, Almighty, Immortal God of the Universe. When I don’t receive that value, it is the worse kind of arrogance. When I think I can “perform” well enough to merit this value or not perform and lose it, I have reduced God to my size and that’s just wrong. Not to mention, it is a common strategy the enemy uses to keep us from reaching our full potential in Christ. Nothing is as distracting for Christians, as trying to constantly win God’s approval or beating ourselves up for failing to.
It’s preoccupation with self, I ought to know, I’ve done it enough!
Sooooo……how do I grab hold of my God given value and allow it to produce the right attitudes and actions that result in a life that points to Jesus and glorifies God? One word, “ABIDE“. John 15;1-17. Memorize it, meditate on it, pray on it. Especially, verses 16 & 17, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
Oh, I do love that God’s word is so very clear! How in the world (exactly…the world!) do I miss its application so often? Help me, Jesus! As Hebrews 12:2a instructs, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” It’s all about God! God from the beginning, middle and the end! He is the Alpha and Omega!
Onward and upward, my friends, we have a Champion!