Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Have you met my inner One-Year-Old?

The other night, I visited with a small group of ladies from my church. A dear friend of mine was there with her one-year-old daughter, who is very lively and fun. She is also one, which means she has opinions but lacks the verbal ability to express them, so she does what she knows to do...fuss. At one point before the meeting, this sweet girl realized she was hungry and didn't want to wait for the rest of us to eat. She needed her food RIGHT NOW and she was going to get way or the other. She tried the cute approach. She hugged Mommy's pregnant belly. She tried to plead. She tried to get at the food herself. When all that failed...she cried, quickly repeated the few words she knew mixed in with other noises, and she turned red in frustration. I looked at her, somewhat enjoying her determination and muttered to myself "That's what my heart looks like most of the time."

The other ladies heard me...and the attention was mercifully removed from my friend and her darling,determined daughter.

Over the past few weeks, I've been confronted with my sinfulness, it seems, almost daily. What I have seen is my inner one-year-old...throwing a tantrum because things aren't going my way. When my will comes up against another's, providence, reality, I fume and fuss (mostly on the inside) and cry and look for any possible means of getting my way. It's everywhere I look: home, work, family, even in my relationship with the Lord. This past week, I also found out "it" has a name - it's called Selfish Ambition.

This is what scripture has to say about this particular sin:

This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition (Greek: rivalry) exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:15-17)

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)

My eyes were opened to the true nature of my heart AND what that sin was called through a very helpful message on Selfish Ambition by Betsy Riccuci. Hearing how this sin manifested itself in her life was like hearing a description of myself. As she shared her attempts to mortify this sin I realized something...more often than not my first motive and ambition is self.

By His grace, this "kneejerk" response is often beaten down and His truth changes my thinking, my heart and my actions...but it is still there. My heart want's to set myself up as god and thus the clash begins. Because I belong to Christ and have His Spirit, this rebellion is met with force and the true God will be victorious. I am thankful for this...for His power AND for His mercy on me.

Though the tantrums continue. Though what I see in me is beyond ugly. His gracious purpose is now, always has been,and always will be my good. He is still for me and His purposes are still being worked out in my life...for my life...and most humbling of all, through my life.

God help me to make it all about you and not about me. More of you, less of me is my prayer. Your will be done, not mine! Whatever that looks like. Whatever I have to lose or give up or change to bring you glory and be more conformed into the image of your Son. Do it! And give me the faith, despite the tantrums and intense emotion, to submit to your Hand and trust You!

1 comment:

  1. Michael O (in California)May 2, 2007 at 11:44 AM


    Great observations and teaching. This was a great help for me today.