Pastor Ryan Matchett gave a compelling message last Sunday. He brought an issue to life, one that most of us are not familiar with, no matter how long we have been attending church or vigorously working to complete our Biblical Studies degree. It was a message that delicately and humorously unveiled the messy reality of what humanity is comprised of. That is desperate people clinging to worldly things for their worth and value.
Ryan didn’t call us desperate and lacking in a pejorative, rude way. If he hadn’t called it out it would have been a lapse into his own desire to be liked, something he strongly fought against to be an example for us.
Despite the difficulty of what he was saying to us, his message came across loud and clear. When we believe that life is all about us and that our success will complete us we are tricking ourselves into the greatest failure possible: reliance on self and on the things the world calls valuable, “fame”, “money”, “recognition”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these things are inherently bad, just that in order to live a life of peace and a life that is pleasing to God our priorities need to be in order.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these things are inherently bad. What I am saying is that if we’re interested in living a life of peace our priorities need to be in order.
Really, in order to live a life that is pleasing to God our value CAN’T come from what we do.
To be living a life that is worthy of God and beneficial to ourselves we must embrace the fact that deep down inside we are people who lose and as a result, we are losers. Please don’t take this the wrong way…when I say losers, I mean we sometimes try to overcome what our innate self of morality tells us is wrong… selfishness,
Please don’t take this the wrong way…when I say losers, I mean we sometimes try to overcome what our innate sense of morality tells us is wrong… selfishness, bitterness and greed (the list really is endless) but we fail. Instead of overcoming these things, we hate people, lie, stab at them behind their backs and use their influence for our own selfish gains. Oddly enough, we will stab someone else in the back and suck up to another person. We rip certain people apart then try to make ourselves great in the eyes of other people because we think our value is in the opinions of people. That’s just the beginning of what we will do to be noticed, recognized, celebrated and to fit in. Nasty.
Yeah, and…the dirty, nasty truth of the matter is: we, people incapable of living up to our own expectations, are perfectly incapable of making any significant change to peoples’ hearts and lives if we do not humble ourselves and lay down expectations for ourselves.
As difficult as this may be to hear, it is true. He is the One who made people and loves them desperately. This is true for all of us, no matter what Biblical degree you have achieved. He alone understands what we need in the unique way we need it. When we die to self He is able to use us as His messengers but we must constantly be asking Him for grace to do so!
In this journey of dying to self it is so important to remember that ultimately, the only one who matters is the God who has made each and every one of us. We will all wither and fade into the background but the Word of God will remain, powerful and life-changing, until the end of the age.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8
It can be tough laying down the ideals we have for ourselves and embracing the “loser” identity. That is the Spirit’s work. How often do we forget that Jesus, the Creator of the world and the Word incarnate, asked Father God for help to let go of His will to carry out the ultimate will of the Father?
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” – Luke 22:42
He gets it. It’s tough beans. But because Jesus did it we can be confident to ask Him for the strength to do it too.
Please, take some time today to realize that you and I both make pretty big mistakes and are not the Saviors of the neighbors’ story, our dysfunctional family’s story or even our own. Allow yourself to relax in the fact that the God who made the Universe is humble. He holds out His hand and beckons you. Will you choose to step down from the pedestal and ask Him for grace to be the same?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29