Remember how the apostle Paul “brags” on himself in Philippians 3, saying that if anyone could have confidence in his own credentials, he could?
Can I play Paul for a second?
- I grew up surrounded by believers,
- Did the “right” stuff,
- Graduated from Moody Bible Institute,
- Married a wonderful Christian man,
- Became a missionary to Haiti,
- Adopted three Haitian children,
- Endured some pretty crazy stuff during our family’s eight years on the mission field,
- And now I homeschool three of our five kids.
Like Paul, I’m embarrassed to throw a “holier-than-thou” list like that out there.
But just like Paul, I’d like to make a point:
It’s all nothing.
My relationship with Jesus is the only thing that matters.
My walk with Him today is it.
True spirituality… true maturity in Christ has nothing to do with my credentials!
My friend, if you could have peeked into my heart during the years I served as a missionary in Haiti, you might have been horrified. Yes, thanks to the Holy Spirit’s presence in my heart, my deepest desire was to honor Him, but on top of that were many ugly, selfish, wicked, vain, and bitter thoughts. I was every bit as tempted as you to build my own pretty kingdom, advance my own agenda, and serve my fragile ego.
The truth is, though I lived on a smaller budget, fought the heat, witnessed heart-breaking poverty, and faced unique fears, I still often managed to be materialistic, comfort-driven, and faithless. Sometimes I’d return to the U.S. for a short visit, sharing stories of our lives, amazing my listeners, only to find that my American friends who lived lives of “luxury” were on faith journeys with Christ that made me envious.
True spirituality has nothing to do with where we live or what our occupation is.
It doesn’t come with the title of “missionary,” “pastor’s wife,” or “Sunday school teacher.”
It doesn’t come with a list of accomplishments or a pristine past.
True spirituality is a heart that is close to Jesus.
God, in His grace, used my experiences and my sinfulness to draw my gaze back to the worthiness of His Son.
And that is the bottom line.
There is no “holier-than-thou.” It’s certainly not me. And it’s not that person that you’ve been watching from a distance.
Any holiness, any usefulness is all Jesus.
Regardless of what our credentials are or aren’t, it comes back to knowing Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let’s walk with Him.
Let’s acknowledge that neither “we” nor “they” are qualified, holy or admirable on our own.
Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus.
Let’s learn to know Him.