Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Romans 8.5-7 (MSG)
When my boys were young, they were fascinated with looking at their muscles in the bathroom mirror. It usually happened after bath time. They would stand in front of the mirror, hair slicked back, scrawny arms flexed, bragging about how big their muscles were. Often, they would use their fingers to push up their muscles so that they would look bigger than they really were.
Spiritually we do the same thing my boys loved to do. We stand in front of our mirror, flexing our moral muscle as we focus on the good we see in ourselves all the while bragging about our greatness and ignoring how broken and sinful we really are.
We lose sight of God and become consumed with looking at our own reflection. We would rather stand in front of the mirror making our own assessments of ourselves than allowing God to point out our areas of needed growth and change. When it comes to down to it, we don’t want difficult – we want easy. We don’t want transformation – we want information. We don’t want God’s Spirit directing our lives – we want our own way.
Kay Warren in her book, Dangerous Surrender, writes this: I, like many other adults, devote a fair amount of time, energy and money to controlling, polishing protecting and defending my own private little kingdom. Like a despotic ruler in mythical story, I can be the omnipotent potentate, supreme authority, oppressive dictator, and highly exalted one in the Kingdom of Me. Of course, I would never say it out loud and might be outraged that anyone would even suggest that I operate that way, but it’s the reality of the struggle I face every day. So do you. At my worst, I rule over my domain with an iron hand, fiercely protecting my territory, my possessions, my reputation, my persona, my dignity, my rights as queen. I am in control. As Gary Thomas observes, “The biggest block to our surrender is not our appetites and wayward desires but our addiction to running our own lives.
“Focusing on self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God and ends up thinking more about self than God.” (Romans 8.8 MSG)
We can’t have it both ways. It’s either God or us. The question is do we trust God enough to let Him run our life?
We all experience insecurity from time to time, some more than others. But what is insecurity?
The dictionary defines “insecurity” as the lack of confidence or assurance When we are insecure we move into lock down mode . . . we must protect the kingdom at all cost, we cannot let anyone see our self-doubt, our lack of confidence. Insecurity forces us to focus on ourselves.
The only way we will be truly secure is when we seek our value in God, when we relinquish the Kingdom of Me and embrace the Kingdom of God. When we get off our throne and let God reign. When we stop looking in the mirror and start looking at Him.
Attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious and free life! (Romans 8.7b MSG) Welcome to the Kingdom! (The Kingdom of God that is.)