The Bible doesn’t tell us to speak truth in anger or self-righteousness—only to speak the truth in love. As God’s children, let’s never speak with an attitude that says “I told you so” or “I know more than you” or “I’m better than you.” When we bring correction in a mean-spirited way, we demonstrate a lack of compassion for those we address. That’s so tragic and costly. All of us must be motivated, moved, and even consumed with love when we speak into someone’s life, or we should not speak at all.
Our ordinary method of dealing with ingrained sin is to launch a frontal attack. We rely on will power and determination. Whatever the issue may be for us – anger, bitterness, pride, lust, fear – we determine never to do it again, we pray against it, fight against it and set our will against it….The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over our sin by the strength of our will alone, we are worshipping the will….When we despair of gaining inner transformation through human powers of will and determination, we are open to a wonderful new realization: inner righteousness is a gift from God to be graciously received. The needed change is God’s work, not ours. The demand is for an inside job, and only God can work from the inside.
It’s always true to some extent that we make our images of God. It is even truer that our image of God makes us. Eventually, we become like the god we image. One of the most beautiful fruits of knowing the God of Jesus is a compassionate attitude towards ourselves. Healing our image of God heals our image of ourselves.
Self-righteousness….is the largest idol of the human heart – the idol which man loves most and God hates most. Dearly beloved, you will always be going back to this idol. You are always trying to be something in yourself, to gain God’s favour by thinking little of your sin, or by looking to your repentance, tears, prayers; or by looking to your religious exercises, your frames, etc; or by looking to your graces, the Spirit’s work in your heart. Beware of false Christs. Study sanctification to the utmost, but make not a Christ of it.
Satan’s ploy is to make you believe your core value as a person is tied to how much work you do, how much activity you can accomplish, how much stuff you can accumulate, how much business you can generate. In order to possess any worth under this system—just like Israel under Pharaoh’s rule—you’ve got to be able to rattle off everything you’ve been doing, one by one, adding it all up into a big gob of bullet points and checklists that ought to impress anybody.
Love must be the motivating factor for our purity and holiness. This prerequisite is absolutely essential if we are to abide in God’s power and presence.
The veil [in the Jerusalem Temple] separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies and was enormous, thick, and very tall. There weren’t ladders high enough to get up there and rip it. It was ripped from top to bottom, not bottom to top, implying God tore the veil. God was making the statement, “You who were on the outside, you can come in, you can draw near by faith. I’m giving you access to me by the death of my Son.” The only way the sacrifices could have continued after that day was for the veil to be sewn up again. That’s what religion does. God rips open the veil and says come close; mankind says, Let’s sew it back up. Let’s take the freedom that we have and get rid of the freedom and go back into bondage, into religion, into rites and ceremonies. Man always has the tendency to take the veil that God ripped and sew it back up; putting things in reverse instead of moving forward.
Nothing that we despise in other men is inherently absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don’t do, and more in light of what they suffer.