Fullness in Christ is knowing emptiness, and knowing emptiness is the beginning to being full in Christ. Charles Spurgeon’s words ring with more and more truth the more one ponders upon them. Today, I want to view these words in light of pride.
We spend a lifetime learning how to balance pride. We want to have some pride in what we do but too much pride is a sin. Where is that balance? Did you know that we are in an epic balancing act in our spiritual lives with this very matter?
Self-esteem, good or bad, is about pride. You have too much pride and you are boastful. You have too little pride and you have self-esteem issues. In our spiritual lives, this translates into what we believe about God.
If you have low-esteem, you are telling God, “you can’t do anything because of me.” However, if you have high-esteem, you are telling God, “you don’t need to do anything because of me.” Notice what both of those statements have? Me.
Some of us feel that we are so bad, that we are so scarred, that we are so stupid, etc. etc., that God cannot, or maybe he won’t, do _________________. In effect, we are saying that God can’t/won’t extend to us his love and grace because of what we have done or because of what we are. We know that emptiness that Spurgeon speaks of. However, we are not allowing God to fulfill us.
This attitude is completely against what the Bible tells us. It diminishes what Jesus has done for us. He died, and rose again, for every person. That means you. When he died, he was dying for everyone’s sins. That reached into the future. You weren’t even born yet, which means your sins hadn’t even been committed yet. Those things that are holding you back from allowing God to completely fulfill you, he died for those too.
Still not convinced? Think about Peter who denied Jesus three times, and Saul (later Paul) who killed Jesus-followers. They repented, Jesus forgave, and they did great things for the kingdom.
Don’t diminish that by not allowing God to do what he promised he would. Allow him to come in and free you. It is hard. If you are struggling with allowing God to completely fulfill you because of what happened to you or what you have done, know that you are allowing Satan to have a stronghold in your life. He has built a fortress in you to keep you in those thoughts. He doesn’t want you to fully experience Jesus because that makes you more powerful. He doesn’t want you to remember that God can overcome anything and everything that is “wrong” with you.
Remember, that love and grace and mercy is a gift. Gifts must be accepted. You have to take the gift and unwrap it. Don’t accept the gift and put it on the shelf. Open it up. Let it become a part of your life.
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.2 Corinthians 10:4
And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.Romans 3:24
Of course, some of us have what I like to call over-esteem. We are so self-reliant that we often push God away. We don’t go to God because we can do it. Why bother God? He has more important things to do and we can handle it. With this attitude, we go after things in our own power instead of in the power of Jesus. We are so full of ourselves that there is no room for Jesus in there.
This attitude is also completely against what the Bible says. We are not to be full of ourselves. We are to be full of the Holy Spirit. We need to be doing things with the power of God, not with our own power. We need to empty ourselves of ourselves and allow Jesus to fill us.
Never be wise in your own sight.Romans 12:16b
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”2 Corinthians 10:17-18
So if we shouldn’t have low self-esteem and we shouldn’t have over self-esteem, what is the answer? A balanced spiritual self-esteem knows that you are a child of God, an heir to his kingdom. However, that status is because of what he does, not what you do. A balanced spiritual self-esteem understands that everything achieved is because of Christ, not because of or in spite of you. A balanced spiritual self-esteem knows the emptiness of not having Christ, but doesn’t allow the emptiness to stay. Instead, the emptiness is filled, but not with ourselves, with Jesus.
Who saves us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.2 Timothy 1:9
- Does Satan have a stronghold on you? Ask the Holy Spirit to remove it. Write the verse on a card and keep it with you. Every time you start to think that God can’t/won’t extend his love and grace to you, read that verse and ask the Holy Spirit to remove that stronghold. Fortresses don’t come down overnight. Keep up the fight and it will eventually be destroyed.
- Are you trying to do things in your own power? Do you only turn to God when it becomes too much, instead of when you start? Take some time to repent of your pride and ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay focused on his power, not your own.
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