The Transformational Power of Glorying in Christ Jesus
As I have stated previously, I care far too much about what other people think about me. There’s all sorts of issues of self esteem and self worth bound up together in there, but at the end of the day I want people to think that Andy Geers is awesome. Given the right conditions, I can even go a long way towards convincing myself that might be true. I can pull some pretty smart moves on the dance mats, for instance. Not to mention how I’ve been labouring for four and a half years on a custom-built 3D engine for my Bible-teaching computer games under the illusion that I’m an awesome programmer (there’s no other sensible hypothesis for why I would have attempted such a feat, after all!) I can convince myself it’s true when it comes to my relationship with God as well: if I leave out the ugly parts, I’m basically a good person and I’m sure God will be happy enough with my performance, given how generally awesome I am.
But the trouble with this attitude is when the cracks start to show. What happens when you come to start using your game engine in anger and you find that it’s riddled with bugs, leaving you facing the prospect of investing months more work in an engine that’s already at least five years behind the state-of-the-art? What happens when somebody else shows up on the scene who is quite clearly even more awesome that you thought you were (and whose dance mat prowess leaves you in the dust)? What happens when the sin in your life because so painfully obvious that it starts to become clear that the holy God in whom is no darkness whatsoever must be offended by the very thought of you?
Put no confidence in the flesh
At church tonight we had a brilliant sermon looking at Philippians 3:1-7, and I was particularly struck by verse 3:
“For we are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh”
The Christian person is free (indeed, obliged) to discard any pretensions at having reason to boast in themselves, and instead is freed to glory in their utter worthlessness and dependence upon the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Let me shout it from the rooftops with the utmost joy in my heart: I HAVE NO GROUNDS FOR CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF!!! Hurrah! It doesn’t matter if so-and-so is threatening to outshine me with their superior awesomeness – I have no awesomeness to protect! Andy Geers is not awesome – but Jesus IS!
It’s such a liberating truth to know that I don’t need to protect my self-esteem – instead I need to bolster my Jesus-esteem. I’ve been really encouraged and challenged by these accounts of Martin Luther that have been doing the rounds this past week:
The Devil would come to him and whisper in his ear, accusing him of all manner of filthy sin: “Martin, you are a liar, greedy, lecherous, a blasphemer, a hypocrite. You cannot stand before God.” To which Luther would respond: “Well, yes, I am. And, indeed, Satan, you do not know the half of it. I have done much worse than that and if you care to give me your full list, I can no doubt add to it and help make it more complete. But you know what? My Saviour has died for all my sins – those you mention, those I could add and, indeed, those I have committed but am so wicked that I am unaware of having done so. It does not change the fact that Christ has died for all of them; his blood is sufficient; and on the Day of Judgment I shall be exonerated because he has taken all my sins on himself and clothed me in his own perfect righteousness.”
I’m going to keep dwelling on Luther’s approach this week. But in the mean time, I’ve taken the plunge and started a 30 day trial of the Unity game engine to see if I can reproduce my point & click adventure game during that time. So far I’m absolutely loving it! It’s a great feeling to know instead of being burdened with having to do everything myself, instead the longer I sit back and wait the more features and extensions and bugfixes get developed for it! And it has so many more features than my poor little engine could ever hope to have offered, it’s unbelievable, not to mention cross-platform support for Windows, Apple and Nintendo Wii. Somehow, I think I’ve made the right choice! Even if it does mean giving up a little cause to boast in myself.
I’d rather spend my time boasting in Jesus Christ.