Excerpt from Grace Notes: Daily Readings with Philip Yancey (eBook).
In his essay, "The Trouble with X," C. S. Lewis points out that we spot a fatal flaw in almost everyone we meet, even our closest friends. We say about them, "He's a very fine fellow, and I enjoy his company. If only it weren't for his..." Yet we almost never see that fatal flaw in ourselves. We rationalize our weaknesses, explaining them away with references to our backgrounds or our good intentions.
Regardless of my accomplishments, my sophistication, my admirable traits, I must come to the humbling ground where I acknowledge I am not different from, but like every person who has ever lived. I am a sinner.
I cannot imagine a more difficult stumbling block in Christianity. It is relatively easy to inspire people with the Christian ethic of love; much liberal humanism is built on similar feelings. But every mechanism of self-protection within me cries out against this painful, renouncing step of identifying myself as a sinner. In that act I lose all the collected aspects of my identity and am known simply as a rebel against God.
[The Good News]
Fortunately, however, I do not [have to] remain in that humbled state... After going through the humiliating act of losing myself by letting go of [my] pride, I suddenly find myself with a new identity: the exalted state that Paul describes as "in-Christness." No longer must I defend my thoughts, my values, my actions. I trade those in for the identity I am given as a son of God. I relinquish the responsibility for setting my ethical standards and my worldview.
My sense of competition quickly fades. No longer do I have to bristle through life, racking up points to prove myself. My role has ideally become to prove God, to live my life in such a way that people around me recognize Jesus and his love, not the other set of qualities that separate me from the world.
Previously, my main motivation in life was to do a painting of myself, filled with bright colors and profound insights, so that all who looked upon it would be impressed. Now, however, I find that my role is to be a mirror, to brightly reflect the image of God through me. Or perhaps the metaphor of stained glass would serve better, for, after all, God will illumine through my personality and body.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. -Romans 3:23-24 Read More in the Book of Romans
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