Sshh. I’d prefer that you not tell anyone if at all possible. Somewhere along the line I came to realize that I am a flawed person. But it’s not really something that I want others know. Our world demands perfection and people can be really cruel toward those who are anything less.
Such a realization can easily lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. I’ve walked with God for well over 30 years now and I have not even come close to approaching sinless perfection. Indeed, by this time in life, the struggles that I continue to face appear all the more daunting because of the very fact that I continue to face them. Feeling flawed and feeling overwhelmed seem to go hand in hand.
I don’t suppose that you, the reader, can relate. Based on the way we carry ourselves, it seems to me that most of those who profess faith in Christ—especially our leaders—have it all together. They take life’s challenges in stride, face massive obstacles without so much as batting an eyelash, and live in constant victory over sin and temptation. At least, that’s what it seems like on the surface.
I suppose that a certain air of humility can be found in admitting that we have our flaws—as long as our statements are very general in nature. Of course, it isn’t safe to be specific. There’s no telling what others will do with such potentially damaging information. In fact, simply admitting to ourselves that we are flawed and weak can be a terrifying experience within itself. Thus, we have all become quite skilled not only in the laborious task of erecting public images, but also in the art of self-deception. Sadly, neither skill will get us anywhere good. Our only hope lies in honest truth.
You see, no matter how long a person walks with God, no matter how much he or she grows in maturity, there will never be a time when our Savior becomes unnecessary. We will ALWAYS be desperately in need of Christ and His sacrificial work on the cross.
Further still, I am now coming to realize that God will often work to destroy our self-confidence; trusting in oneself makes a person virtually worthless for kingdom purposes. Those who wish to be used powerfully by God must learn to continually draw upon His life-giving grace. But we cannot draw upon God’s grace if our confidence is in ourselves. It is from His sufficiency that true life flows.
The New Year offers an opportunity for us to make a fresh start. But unless we make appropriate changes in our thoughts and actions, the unpleasant, draining struggles of the old will simply become the painful realities of the new. Can there be a better way to usher in a new year than by honestly acknowledging that we are flawed—putting aside our futile attempts at self-confidence—and looking to Jesus as the source of abundant, all-sufficient grace?
In doing so, we will give God a new freedom to fill us and to use us. New and fruitful horizons of opportunity will open before our eyes. I’m not saying that all of our challenges will disappear. On the contrary, some may become more intense—the destruction of a person’s self-confidence is not a fun process! Those, however, who truly learn to draw upon God’s empowering grace will see very real changes over the course of 12 months. And how much better it is to end a year saying, “Look at what God has done!” than by wearily wishing for the old to be gone and the new to be near.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your amazing patience with me. Lord, I admit my deep and desperate need for Jesus. I am a flawed person but Your grace is always abundant and always sufficient. Please help me to put my full confidence in You and to continually draw upon Your empowering grace. May the coming year be exceedingly blessed for Your honor and glory!