Thinking of Ourselves Less

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
–Tim Keller, The Reason For God

It just doesn’t get any more simple nor straightforward than the above quotation. The point of life is not to develop great self-esteem so that we think the world owes us a favor, nor is it to deny ourselves so much that we become  door mats to the rest of humanity. Rather a Christian’s one purpose is to follow in the steps of John the Baptist, who proclaimed, “I must decrease, He must increase.” When we die to self; when we remember who we were are as hopeless sinners; when we remember the greatness of our holy God and our utter inability to be in relationship with Him; when we think of ourselves less and our great God more, our lives begin to fall miraculously into place. Suddenly “the things of this earth will grow strangely dim/ In the light of His glory and grace.”

There are so many times when I take the focus off of him and I place it on myself. Those are the times I slide into thinking things like, “I’m doing alright. At least I don’t sin like so-and-so. I’m doing pretty good compared to her.” But our goal is not to be better than we were yesterday or to be better than the people around us. Our goal is to be holy as He is holy– a pretty tall order for a bunch of sinners.

In this journey to Christlikeness, I must remember that the fastest way to stay close to Christ is to remember the great sacrifice He made for me on the cross, and to remember how sinful I still am and how sinful I will remain without His grace and help. Praise to Him who loves enough to not let us stay in our sinful state, but instead made a way for us to be holy as he is holy!

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