“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.”
Our son, Nat, while in college wrote the following: “In looking back on the last few weeks, I can see that I’ve been learning the following: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade have a good lesson for us.
“Remember what Jones was looking for in that movie? The Holy Grail. And can you recall in the final scene which of the various bowls and cups the Holy one was? The rattiest of them all! This is what God is showing me about myself.
“I thought I knew who I was. From other people’s descriptions of me I’m a pretty nice guy. Clean. Religious. Gracious. And I thought to myself, after examining my actions from a distance, ‘Yeah, that’s what I am.’ And I felt smug about it.
“However, ‘Pride comes before a fall.’ And I fell pretty hard.
Over the course of the past two months the LORD showed me a very different Nat, one I feared to see. Little by little I noticed that much of what I do and say, even though the exact language and/or methods used weren’t as bad as what my unbelieving friends employed, wasn’t that dis-similar.
“At first my mind couldn’t compute this paradox it was seeing in me: I’m ‘good’ but contrary to that I do bad things. I’d snap at people, join in on mockery, laugh at things that shouldn’t be laughed at. This set forth a struggle within me which is best summed in Paul’s statement to the Romans: ‘I do what I don’t want to do and not that which I want to’ (paraphrase).
“It’s been very disillusioning to see this tendency and it provoked a sense of meaninglessness and failure within me, as well as a loss of identity to some extent. As a result, I lost much of my desire to dig into the Word but still did it by the LORD’s strength.
“Then after having watched the movie I mentioned and pondering my situation, a little light flickered on inside of me: “I’m not good!” Duh! Yes, I’m not good in myself nor any better than the others of this world. But just the fact of having been selected for the task of serving the LORD has made me holy, not what I do and say. Just like that cup. It was holy (set aside for special use) because it was a relic used by Christ, not because it was made of exceptionally expensive materials.
“This is a simple concept but for some reason it’s hard to really grasp. Many of us say that we aren’t good but don’t really believe it. If we really want to be effective for the LORD, this must be understood internally, not just theoretically.
“I know that feeling worthless and seeing all of my failures drove me into His presence and got me to look at what was inside me, leading me to admit that I can’t do anything in my own strength. Then He said ‘Good, let me do it.’
“That was another door kicked down in the dungeons of my soul and another room illuminated. He’s been cleaning up since then. God wants to turn our dungeons into palaces. But He can’t do that unless we are willing to face the facts about ourselves and clean out the bones and other filth that are a common part of dungeons.
“He does the work but we facilitate in it by loving Him. And the more He works in us the more we love Him….”
Prayer: “Lord, help me to see myself as you do, to accept in mind, will and emotion the truth that “in my natural self there dwells no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). Help me to walk in the newness of life with you, obeying you in all I know to be true. Amen.”