Gratefulness of Conceit
We all know thanksgiving pleases God. But what if our thankfulness doesn’t have the right motive behind it?
“I am grateful that God didn’t give me a mischievous child like their children”
“Thank you God that I am not poor as my classmate”
“Thank you Lord that my husband is far better than hers”
“Thank God I didn’t compromise and settle down like them”.
By now, you have seen that not all thankful prayers, most times, please God. On the other hand, there are genuine prayers like Thank you Lord for keeping my mother safe and healthy, I don’t deserve such a great mom; but because of your sheer mercy, I still have her in my life. Father, I pray for all my friends who have lost a parent or parents. Use me as a vessel of your love. Let your loving presence be with them and may they never be overtaken in pain or delays of life – In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We can never be truly grateful, if we have not, first and foremost, be grateful to Him for redeeming us from eternal doom. Only a person who has truly understood the difference between eternal condemnation and salvation through Jesus Christ can be grateful for the daily blessings of God. They wouldn’t compare; they will have a burden for people who are struggling and will be ready to take the ‘extra-mile’ with anyone God wants them to, even if the other party isn’t going to appreciate it.
If we have examined ourselves on this phenomenon called gratefulness of conceit resulting from comparison with another, we will know the urgent need for repentance.Healthy comparisons are good. But that is not the baseline for being grateful to God and loving people. When we compare, we glorify our works and not His grace. A selfish-love attitude suits no child of God. God is the searcher of the deepest secrets of our hearts and if we aren’t careful we can go off track with our ideologies; so far away from truly being content in Him.
Love others like yourself
If we are full of ourselves, our self-love is distant from what Jesus wants. I have been to this place. Then come to realize, that this kind of thinking is contradictory to what God thinks of me. Such kinds of people have a major problem. They are less forgiving, or highly bitter. Hence, this pseudo-love only makes us more arrogant than being Kingdom reflectors. We cannot live as children of God and harbor bitterness, malice, pretentious and manipulative behaviors toward ourselves and others. We would be foolish if we think we can get away with such attitudes. Selfish love tends to twist the word of God and not accept correction. Such people will never admit they are wrong and are furious to trash out at another.
Only when we can see ourselves as precious as God sees us, we spill over the miracle of divine love toward others.
Recently, someone was offended by the bad behavior of a church member and he criticized our pastor for this behavior of another person! We are a set of fallen beings who love to blame others when things go wrong and give credit to another person by belittling someone else. We don’t want to become mature or obey the Lord. Being a mother of a five-year-old, I still tend to blame my parents for the wrong behaviors I exhibit at times. With the sheer intervention of the Holy Spirit, I have improved to an extent. But the sinful nature in me craves many a time to compromise on the standards of God. When I do, I am miserable. So you see, it is not with people. The problem is in us. Our selfish love relentlessly whispers, “It is not you, it’s them, it’s God and the circumstances He allowed”. But the divine selfless love of Jesus, always overrides, if we let Him. This love gives us immense grace to take ownership of the blemishes in our lives and declare, My God knows me, and this doesn’t surprise Him. His grace allows me to cooperate and overcome these habits and heartaches of mine. I will continue to trust Him.
Love yourself enough to own up and surrender to the Holy Spirit for change; from the inside out. Love yourself enough to stop giving another person the ‘credit’ for your wrong behaviors.
Self-love or Selfish Love
Self-love according to God’s standards leads to selflessness. Which means, dying to self and surrendering to Him daily. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16: 24). Death to self is denying your sinful self and pursuing Christ-likeness regularly.
It is easy to declare and keep repeating, “I am a beloved child of God, made in His image…..” But living up to that standard will not come along with self-will, but by surrendering to the Holy Spirit per diem. When He takes control, our schedules, attitude, priorities and desires change. Such changes reveal actions that are so full of heaven’s leading, and cannot be explained in words or shown as a status quo.
Love yourself so much that you don’t want to live a life inferior to what He has called you to live. So how do we guard ourselves when people take advantage of us? We embrace the boldness Christ has given us and set boundaries, not with hatred, but with firmness and love. How? Ask God, seek Him. He had kept boundary lines with His twelve disciples and He alone knows how to help us do so.
Remember, we cannot live, even a day as a Christian, if we aren’t willing to let go our selfishness to Christ. It is worth laying ourselves at the altar of His presence consistently, so as to embrace the beauty He showers into every area of our lives.
Echo of His Voice