Do you ever get down on yourself? Do you ever get mad or
frustrated or discouraged because youíre not the person you should
be? Do you ever feel like a failure? I do. Iím slow to forgive. I
donít witness enough. I donít put first things first. Iíve missed
hundreds of quiet times. I have ungodly motives. (Sometimes I beat
myself up over these things, but even that doesnít seem to help.
In fact it just seems to get worse.)
I should be perfect. A perfect husband. A perfect dad. A
perfect teacher. Weeds should not grow in my yard. (If you know
the name of a good therapist, please let me know.)
Okay, Iíll stop being pathetic. The fact is that God has been
teaching me something wonderful which frees me from getting down
on myself. Psalm 43:5 addresses the problem and then reveals the
my help and my God.
What a fascinating passage! It contains a precious truth. When
we are downcast, our hope is not in God. Our hope is in ourselves.
We think it all depends on us. We are failing or messing up in
some way, and we keep looking to ourselves as the solution.
Formerly, when Satan, the "accuser of the brethren," hurled
darts of condemnation at me, I often responded by saying, "Iíll
try to do better. Iíll do better." I would do better for a little
while, but when I failed again, the accuser was back with more
Recently Iíve been learning a new way to respond, and the
results are amazing. Now when Satan says, "Youíre inadequate!" I
say, "Youíre right! But is Jesus inadequate?"
When I answer that way, the conversation always comes to an
abrupt halt. Apparently Satan enjoys talking with me all day long
about me and my inadequacy, but when I bring up Christ and His
adequacy, Satan no longer wants to chat.
Itís not just that my words have changed. Thereís been a change
in my heart. Iím learning to put my hope in Christ rather than in
myself. Iím learning to rejoice in Christ at those times when
formerly I would get down on myself.
I never have to worry about being adequate again. God does not
expect me to be adequate, nor does He require me to be adequate.
What He requires is for me to look past myself to Christ, the
all-sufficient One. I can rejoice in Him. I donít have to strive
to be perfect anymore. I can rest. Christ lives in me, and He is
everything I will ever need Him to be.
I can be downcast, looking at myself, or I can rejoice, looking
at Him. I canít look at both. Looking to ourselves is a
form of pride, even when doing so causes us to feel discouraged
because of our own inadequacy. We are still depending on self,
stubbornly looking to self. God says, "Humble yourself! This is
not about you! This is about My Son."