There is no room for pride in the kingdom of God.
If there is anything He has been teaching me lately, it is an accurate view of myself. In the past few years, I have thought of myself as broken, at times. Flawed. Messed up in some ways. But I was only scratching the surface of truth. Now, I think He has shown me the heart of the matter.
My testimony is pretty amazing. I know it. Not many people can say that God changed their sexual identity, but I have lived it. And I know it was only Him who could do such a miraculous feat, but there's this piece of me that wants to steal His glory. I want to take partial credit for my life transformation. To God be the glory... I say. But truth be known, I have a pride problem. I am proud in myself, proud of my ability to have made that change.
Without me even really realizing it, pride had crept in. I felt like I had had such amazing growth in Christ to come out of my former life, maybe the rest of me wasn't too terrible. There wasn't any need for earth shattering, fire refining sanctification, not anymore. I had my issues, but I was doing pretty good, at least comparatively. That was up until just recently, when I finally felt the conviction of a sin struggle, one that I had finally decided to surrender. Not really because I wanted to follow Christ instead, but because I wanted to quit experiencing negative consequences. It turned out to be about so much more than the outward struggle, as it often is...
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
Poor in spirit doesn't mean we're sad or brokenhearted, it means we acknowledge how much we need him. How impoverished we are without Him.
And with this recent sin struggle which is so terrifying to try to lose control of, I am on my face. It makes me smile a little bittersweetly. I guess I had been so absorbed with pride that I just hadn't been here in awhile...hadn't fallen on my knees and acknowledged who I am. Not Krissy who "mostly" has it together. Not Krissy who is self sufficient and wise and spiritual and serves at the church. Not Krissy who is a small group leader and who is mostly a morally good person.
Krissy who is a wretched, evil woman. Whose motivations in her heart of hearts are just vile. Krissy who is a wicked sinner, building her own kingdoms and image and believing her gospel of Self. Hopeless, helpless, useless, and, in truth, utterly nothing without Him. Krissy who knows she must make herself Nothing.
Sin is a cancer. We give in to it a little, and it creeps its way into desolate corners. We feed the flesh, and it always begs for more, never to be satisfied. And suddenly, before we know it, those areas of sin that "aren't so bad" have metastasized and are deep into the process of killing our souls. Killing our intimacy with God and warping our minds. Inch by inch. More and more of us, less and less of Him.
But then occasionally, a beam of light breaks through, as clear as day. Revelation happens, and we realize the wretchedness of our sin and ourselves. Or maybe we get so sick of suffering the consequences of the sin that we are finally to a point where we want to surrender it. However it happens when we make the choice to do chemo, it is the start of God breaking new, fresh ground in our hearts.
It is terrifyingly awesome. Like free falling off of a mountain and trusting that something will catch us. Many people don't take the leap off the mountain at all. Many continue to trust in themselves, and as a result, don't realize how miserable they really are. Life is too short for that, but people live in bondage for years because they have become comfortable with sin. Familiar. And their strongholds keep them from the freedom in Christ.
There is a scene in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Indy is trying to cross a chasm carved into rock and it's 50 feet wide. He is told it is a "leap of faith," but the chasm is wider than any man could jump. And he is breathing heavy and sweating and clearly fearful, realizing that he won't be able to do it. It is terrifying and unfamiliar. But instead of turning around and giving up, and instead of trying to take the leap with all of his own might, he takes one. Baby. Step. And his faith upholds him.
There is a Switchfoot song called "Always," and it is a lovesong between God and the subject of the song. It talks about how God continuously offers Himself to us, that He is always ours, every step of our lives, that His grace is always ours for the taking. And in the end, the man in the song has this revelation:
Hallelujah....I'm caving in. Hallelujah, I'm in love again. Allelujah, I'm a wretched man. Hallelujah, every breath is a second chance.
How perfectly this captures the bittersweetness of sanctification. We feel like we're caving in, but we fall deeper in love with Christ. We have the realization of our wretchedness, but at the same time, we know what grace means: every breath is a second chance. HALLELUJAH.
There is a war going on for my heart, but my Father is breaking new ground. I am free falling off of the mountain, I am trying to take baby steps, and I'm caving in. But it is a good thing. A painful but freeing thing. I will not give up and I will not go back to my flesh. I am fighting.
Oh, and one more thing.
"For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)
I pray I would never again think that I have it together. I pray I might always recognize my need to pursue more of Him, less of me. May I always rely on Christ alone, knowing the wretched woman I am apart from Him. May I know nothing, be nothing, make myself nothing, express nothing BUT Him and Him crucified.