You and I need to say it to ourselves again and again. We need to look in the mirror and make the confession as part of our morning routine. Here’s what we all need to say: “I am not a grace graduate.” It is so tempting to mount arguments for your own righteousness:
“That really wasn’t lust. I’m just a man who enjoys beauty.”
“That really wasn’t gossip. It was just a very detailed, very personal prayer request.”
“I wasn’t angry at my kids. I was just acting as one of God’s prophets. ‘Thus says the Lord . . .’”
“I’m not on an ugly quest for personal power. No, I’m just exercising God-given leadership gifts.”
“I’m not cold-hearted and stingy. I’m just trying to be a good steward of what God has given me.”
“I wasn’t being proud. I just thought someone needed to take control of the conversation.”
“It wasn’t really a lie. It was just a different way of recounting the facts.”
- We all tend to want to think we are more righteous than we actually are.
- We don’t like to think of ourselves as still desperately in need of God’s rescuing grace.
- And we surely don’t want to face the fact that what we need to be rescued from is us!
- When you argue for your own righteousness, working hard to deny the empirical evidence of your sin, then you fail to seek the amazing grace that is your only hope.
- Grace is only ever attractive to sinners.
- The riches of God’s goodness are only ever sought by the poor.
The spiritual healing of the Great Physician is only ever esteemed by those who acknowledge that they still suffer from the spiritual disease of sin. It’s a tragedy when we praise God for his grace on Sunday and deny our need for that grace the rest of the week. Face the fact today that you’ll never outgrow your need for grace, no matter how much you learn and how much you mature, until you are on the other side and your struggle is over because sin is no more (see Phil. 3:12–16). The way to begin to celebrate the grace that God so freely gives you every day is by admitting how much you need it.