Today I looked in the mirror and saw someone who perfectly loves God and people. At least, I do a lot better than most of the people I know.
Today I need to hear this:
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. ~ Isaiah 64.6
Yesterday I looked in the mirror and saw someone whose heart is dirty and ugly. Someone who consistently fails to love God or people with her whole heart.
Yesterday I needed to hear this:
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5.8
The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3.17
This is a hard paradox for me to accept. I am loved and delighted in by God AND I am why Jesus had to come and die.
I am walking through my day, trying to understand, when I hear a thud followed by the cry of my littlest one. I run around the corner and see her lying on the floor with my eldest standing over her, disputed toy in hand.
As I ask for wisdom to know how to teach my eldest how to love, I wonder how I can teach my children this thing I don't understand. How can I teach them that God created something wonderful when He made them while at the same time helping them to understand that their hearts are ugly with sin and they desperately need Jesus and His grace?
One without the other brings disaster.
If I teach only that they are beautiful and wonderful and children of the King, they become arrogant and self-centered, entitled to the best.
If I teach only that they are sinful and ugly in their hearts, they become depressed and mired in self-pity, losing all confidence in themselves.
How do I teach both humility and confidence?
I must learn it first.
I turn again to Philippians and find this:
...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. ~ Philippians 3.9
...filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1.11
I am loved by God and He does delight in me...because He made me.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~ Psalm 139.14
I am pure and clean before God and He does see me as righteous...because of Jesus' blood.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. ~ Romans 3.22
All is gift.
Seeing the One behind my righteousness creates humility.
Seeing the cross in front of my sin creates confidence.
All is grace.
I turn and see my eldest giving my littlest one a toy and then a kiss. I smile, knowing that God is teaching their hearts and mine what it means to live a life of both confidence and humility in and through Him.