“Superstition always breeds such sorrows, when men make themselves religious duties which God never made them, and then come short in the performance of them” Richard Baxter
This excerpt from Baxter’s “The cure of Melancholy and Overmuch Sorrow, by Faith,” is based on 2 Corinthians 2:7. “…lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up by overmuch sorrow?” The author goes on to say, “Many souls are assaulted by the erroneous, and told they are in a wrong way; and they must take up some error as a necessary truth, and so are cast into perplexing difficulties, and perhaps repent of the truth which they before owned.”
What’s the problem? Why do we backtrack so easily? — Deeper than we might think. It’s an over-safeguarded soul, a provision for the flesh; just in case God’s ways and means don’t come through in the pinch. It’s hanging on to the railings of false security, because they at least create for us the fantasy of safety. Flights of imagination, whimsy, daydream, fancy, power of invention; which do we chose? We don’t even care if these safety nets work! They are comfort promisers and teasers, that’s all.
Maybe God’s words of comfort, His underneath arms, His upholding of all that fall, His promise of never leaving or forsaking, will turn out to be somehow not true. Maybe I have sinned too far! Maybe I have committed the “unpardonable sin.” “I know He is my Advocate when I sin; but my sin is different; badder, hateful, and more bizarre.” Peculiar, strange, uncanny, creepy, eerie, hideous, ugly, repugnant, shocking, dreadful is my sin; it’s not like other people’s.
“Don’t make me pretend that I am not a rotten sinner,” is much echoed in hearts and churches throughout the World. Our feign, our put on, pulling the wool over, ripping off others, cheating, or con-artistry are things we will not own up to. “I would rather put on a costume of false-humility; O it is safer for me.” “We are deceivers who will not expose our deceivableness by acting in deceit.” We need a cover-up for our cover-up. Aha
Come clean, friend come clean. Forget all that hiding, masquerading, ego-protecting junk. Yes, the ego, yes the ego, yes the big scrounging “I,” the concoction maker and schemer must die.
In a book by Tim Keller he tells the true confession of a superstar rocker. She lives to be recognized, is motivated by the public consent. “My drive in life comes from a fear of being mediocre. That is always pushing me. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being but then I feel that I am still mediocre and uninteresting unless 1 do something else.”
She wants people to believe in her. Nevertheless, having achieved this, she finds, she has to do it again — and again, and again. She can never stop the struggle for ego-satisfaction, because the ego is what ego is; never satisfied. “…even though I have become somebody, I still have to prove that I am somebody.”
Let’s reflect. The ego is a black hole, “empty, painful, busy and therefore fragile.” Ego will never let us rest as long as it is allowed to live. So, this is the key; “Jesus Christ came to save sinners of whom I am chief.” Paul said it. In Hebrews 11:31 “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not…” — Rahab the harlot? Can we give her a break on her title? Hasn’t she earned a better rap?
Folks, we don’t get a better rap, just a better fate. If we want a good reputation with men, we will never see the peace of a soul that doesn’t care either way. The pure in heart see God, purified from the filth of the paining, whimpering, fretting, raging, brittle, delicate, easily broken self-worth, self-esteem, and opinion of yourself. God uses sinners, period. Why do we have to keep putting a trip on ourselves.
Finally, friends walk humbly. Keller says that our problem is “every single day we are in the courtroom.” “Everything we do is providing evidence for the prosecution, or for the defense.” “Do you realize that it is only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance?” Not guilty. Leave the courtroom forever, “because Jesus Christ went on trial instead. Jesus went into the courtroom. He was on trial. He faced the trial that should be ours so that we do not have to face any more trials. “Love ya