Ever notice that God seems to like paradoxes? You know all the references like first and last, die to live, humbled and exalted…you get the idea. The crazy thing is it may not make sense from a worldly perspective but absolutely makes sense from God’s perspective. It has everything to do with our relationship with Him. When we are surrendered and living the life of Jesus, we are thinking like Christ and are focused on heavenly things. We are completely dependent on a loving and accepting God. His plan of Grace is THE plan and not a back-up. He provided for all we need. The only limit to us receiving His provision is the gray matter between our ears. Of course this assumes we are born again.
If you are not born again all you know is self. Our reliance is on ourselves. We don’t know any better. We have such a powerful self-protection mechanism, we are in bondage to our own selfish ways. All our wisdom is from the world which is also bound by self. The ruler of this world has created such a deception that we can’t understand anything outside of self.
So what happens to us on this side of the cross? FREEDOM! We are free from self. We don’t have to depend on self but get provided for by the most amazing God. He actually does love us and died to prove it. We are free to live His life. We get to believe in what He says. We get to receive His Grace. Of course we don’t deserve any of it, that is why it is called Grace! So how is it we sometimes find ourselves stuck in the “between place?”
The “between place” is where we know we are “saved” but think like we are lost. We are so stuck in our experiences, human wisdom, fear and failure to believe. We will make every excuse to say “I know what the Bible says, but my experience tells me…” Here is an example I hope brings some clarity. Has anyone ever said they thought you were arrogant? How about worthless? I have heard that but here is a surprise…from other Christians. What?
Do you know that as a child of God we should be filled with confidence and humility? Sounds like a contradiction, right? Check out these scriptures (there are many more):
Ephesians 3:11-13 11 … Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
1 John 4:17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the Day of Judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Matthew 18:4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 23:12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
But Paul warns us about the flesh or self:
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—
Rom 3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
So I think it looks something like this table:
Surrendered to Jesus
Surrendered to Self
You know Jesus was the most confident and humble person who ever walked the Earth. He had absolute confident in His Father in Heaven. He was completely surrendered to Him and free of self.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
So we also can live in confidence and humility. Why? Because He did. We really have to get this, we are living His life. If what I am experiencing is not what is Jesus then I must be believing wrongly. I have absolute confidence in Jesus in me, through me and for me. Because of Jesus I am free to surrender to Him since I am free of self. I have no reason to puff myself up. I get to live His humble life.
A person that calls that arrogance doesn’t know how big God really is. They don’t understand what it means to be born again and have the Spirit of Christ in them. A person who says we are all worthless is saying the Jesus dead on the cross wasn’t worth anything. We should all approach the throne of Grace with confidence and the humility of a servant who is free of offense and the desire for self edification. Self turns confidence into arrogance and humility into worthlessness. Had enough jumbo shrimp for one night?