“He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.'”
These past couple of weeks the Lord has really been showing me how prideful I am.
I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like a rough way to start a blog post. I know. But I promise it gets better. In fact, that’s exactly what the Lord has been teaching me. His grace has already made it all better!
I never even knew I had pride, but He started to reveal how tightly I was holding onto it, so tightly that I never knew it was there.
He gently affirmed my wandering thoughts, and showed me how most of my days are spent seeking approval from others around me. I have to be the best student, athlete, friend, christian, etc. I have to do anything and everything to get the largest, most distinguished award there is, and then tomorrow I need to accomplish an even greater achievement.
“for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” John 12:43
My need for a successful, outward reputation is consuming my identity as a whole.
The Lord graciously showed me that I was living for the praise of the world, but He is standing right here, arms wide open, ready and willing to accept my flaws and my accomplishments. Just as I am.
I don’t have to get the best grades in school, get into the best college or grad school. I don’t need to receive every award and scholarship there is to offer. What’s amazing is that He’s enough, and He sees me as enough for Him. Nothing I can do would ever get me into Heaven. It’s by His incredible grace and the sacrifice of His one and only Son that allows me to live with Him forever. You see, this is not our home. Heaven is my home, so why do I keep trying to be accepted and praised here?
The featured image for this post is a picture taken on the summit of Mount Shasta in Northern California. A week ago, as I was climbing to the summit of this massive 14,179 foot mountain, the Lord impressed something on my heart that I will never forget.
He told me to think about this mountain as my life. We start out at the bottom and slowly climb to the top. In the middle, you may encounter some problems or trials, ones that require an extra reliance on Him, an extra boost of energy or stamina to continue ahead. It only gets tougher, but once you get to the top, not only are you closer to Him, but you also learned a few lessons on the way up too.
If you can see it in the picture, there should be tiny mountains just underneath the clouds to the left. Those mountains look small from here, but when you were down there in the valley, they seemed like massive, unconquerable giants. Now that we’ve reached the top, they look like little bunny hills that you can easily cover up with your thumb. This is exactly what our life is like. The problems and trials we had during our life seem incomparably unimportant to actually reaching the top or end of our journey.
Once we make it to Heaven, I can guarantee that our Heavenly Father is not going to ask us whether we made the dean’s list or achieved the eagle scout award. He’s going to meet us face to face as we talk about our relationship with Him and how we passionately shared that with others.
The praises you and I seek today, the miniature mountains in the distance, won’t matter once we’re on the summit, standing next to Jesus.
Trust me as I walk through this in my own life. I know it’s difficult to give up the pride of success and the desire to receive earthly praise, but the rewards in Heaven will be so much greater than we could ever imagine!
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
1 John 2:15-17