Focus: Pulling yourself out of the past
Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV) Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
When I make a mistake, I am reminded of how much I need God. I’ve prayed many times that I would stop making mistakes, yet I still make them—even when I try hard not to. It’s painful to have to realize that no matter how perfect I want to be—I’m just not.
One way we can make the most of our mistakes is to realize that they keep us humble…and humble is what we should be—whether we’re making mistakes or not.
But just imagine if we didn’t make mistakes, wouldn’t we get to feeling pretty smug and proud of ourselves? Wouldn’t we look at other people who were still making mistakes and think all kinds of wrong things about their spirituality and character?
I think God allows us to make mistakes so we’ll remember that He is perfect—and we’re not.
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Of course we should always try to make the best effort we can in all we do, but at the same time, we need to keep from trusting in our own abilities. God doesn’t like it when we try to be self-sufficient. He hates pride.
When we try to do everything perfect—we will usually be disappointed in our efforts. The performance/pride/perfection syndrome is another one of those things that is upside down in God’s sight. What He wants to see is humility not pride.
While we’re thinking we should be perfect to get God’s approval—what He’s really looking for is humble. Humility is perfect, in His sight. So if we work very hard and actually get something right, but we aren’t humble—we still blew it.
Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV) says, “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
The harder we try to do things perfectly, the bigger the letdown when we realize we missed the mark, after all.
In that case, some people would think, “Well then, why should I try at all?” And honestly, we’ve probably all felt that way at least once, and probably more times than we care to admit. It is a fair question…especially when you’re discouraged. Why should you try? And furthermore, what if you didn’t? I’ve asked myself those questions quite a few times in the past few years.
For a lot of my life I did things to prove to myself and others that I could. I was sometimes intrigued with taking on a project that was crazy hard. I liked the challenge of sorting out the pieces and putting a complicated puzzle together—particularly if it was one that someone might have thought I couldn’t do. I also liked to do things that were harder than anything else I’d ever done. I liked the rush of pushing myself past my own personal best.
These days, I think I’ve proved enough to myself—and others—so when I look at something I could try to do, I think about the questions, “Why should I?” and “What if I didn’t?”
These days, I know that the only things worth doing and spending my life blood on, are the things that God can get glory from—not me. He is the one who should get all of the credit and praise for anything I manage to ‘do’.
The things we are capable of doing in our own strength are not going to mean anything in the long run, anyway. It’s the things we did that we could have only done by the grace of God that will last for eternity.
If it’s truly God that we want to live for and please, then we should focus all of our attention on resting in His ability and strength—not our own.
When you can think about life that way, it changes a lot of things.
Imagine living a life that is centered around the adoration of God. What if we just lived differently in the future than we have lived in the past? What if we stopped trying to live a performance/pride/perfection oriented life focused on not making mistakes—and just focused on being ‘nothing’?
Declaration: I will find new strength in examining my true reasons for the things I do. I will start asking myself searching questions before I do things—testing my motives—to make sure that the reason I do anything at all, is to bring God glory.
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