What makes us who we are as Christians? I listen to many women lament that they are not the Christian wives and mothers that they think they ought to be. So these women decide that more Bible reading, more devotions, more small groups, or more prayer will make them into someone who will be Christian.
When we "do" we leave God out of the process. Our attempts at being Christians are vain attempts of performance orientation. At our deepest heart level we do not trust God to complete what He started and what He promises to complete.
We cannot make ourselves godly, that is God's domain. He is the ruler of hearts and the one who changes hearts. As He begins to chisel away at the hard rock that surrounds the core of who we are the pain begins. I recall that phase of my new life in Christ with great clarity! I began to see small glimpses of my sinful self and I didn't like it at all. The Holy Spirit was a new Presence in my life and was constantly and consistently convicting me of wrong thoughts, wrong attitudes, wrong words and wrong living. A dislike for how I lived began to percolate within me and a general sense of discomfort ruined the easy way I was going through my days.
I began to see myself reflected in other people. I saw and heard myself in others and was suddenly quite horrified at what I was. This was an important turning point, as God showed me what human nature is like when separated from Him. This was something I had been completely blinded to before my regeneration.
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh..." Romans 7:18a
In the lives of those I had surrounded myself with, I could see who I was apart from God. In their eyes I could see my previous life of death and hopelessness. I did not think myself superior to them, I was broken and crushed as I began to only slightly understand the shallowest depths of my depravity. I was indeed a chief of sinners.
Seeing yourself in such a light will bring clarity to your mind in a hurry! I had no reason to boast, I was a murderer a billion times over but for the grace of God shown to me in Christ Jesus. There was no room for haughty pride in comparing myself to others, I was nothing...nothing...nothing apart from Christ and his redeeming love.
He graciously opened my tomb and allowed me to experience the stench that had been my life. In so doing, He showed me that there is hope for the worst of the worst of sinners. I cannot look upon another struggling or suffering soul the same way to this day. I accept the challenges God brings to my counseling room because they are often times just as I once was. They are beginning to experience the chisel of God rapping on the cement that has encased their hearts. They need help, someone to point them in the right direction. They need healing, so many are so badly hurt and crushed. They most of all need hope. They need to hear that someone just like them who had a heart of stone has been transformed and conformed into something nearer to the image of Christ.
I am clear I have certainly not "arrived," none of us have! I share my heart and God's active working in my heart with anyone who will listen. Does this make me vulnerable? Yes, of course it does. I admit to having suffered the slings and arrows of those who cannot handle or do not understand transparency. That is OK, for I would rather be His fool than a wise man in any human court.