Tue, June 13, 2017
Gazing Upon Christ
We have all seen the person who begins all arguments with the unassailable proposition that he is right and reasons from there. We have received a few letters which purported to settle all questions, not by bringing forth reasons, but by establishing the writer's qualifications to pronounce judgment. "How dare you question my actions," he says. "I am the foremost leader in my field. I have written this many books and spoken to this many people over a long period of this many years." Ergo, I am not to be trifled with, nor are my opinions to be questioned. If I do it, it is right. Ispe dixit. He has said it.
This kind of thing would be comical if it were not tragic. We mention it only to point up the truth under present consideration and to show by horrible example what long continued self-assurance will do to a human character. Let the public accept a man as unusual, and he is soon tempted to accept himself as being above reproof. Soon a hard shell of impenitence covers his heart and chokes his spiritual life almost out of existence. The cure, if there is to be a cure, would be simple, of course. Let him look to his past and to the cross where Jesus died. If he can still defend himself after that, then let him look into his own heart and tell what he finds there. If after that he can still boast, close the coffin lid.
We might point out a danger here (for there will always be perils in the way of spiritual progress): it is that we become morbidly introspective and lose the legitimate happy cheer from our souls. This we must never do, and we can avoid it by permitting Christ to engage our attention, rather than our own souls. The safe rule is, whenever we look at ourselves, be penitent; when we look at Christ, be joyous. And look at Christ most of the time, looking inward only to correct our faults and grieve for our imperfections.
Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
Hardening our hearts places us in extreme danger. Failure to fully receive God's forgiveness or forgive ourselves is also threatening. Fixing our gaze upon Christ reveals our weaknesses and our strength.
O Lord, may my heart be tender and fixed upon You--not upon my misconceived strength or my human weakness. In Jesus' name.