We all have expectations for ourselves. We all have ways we would like to be different. Perhaps we would like to be more patient or less prone to anger. When we do not measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves we become discouraged. But we have to realize that God is not discouraged with us. He never gives up on us. He never stops working with us. Balance is needed between knowing our sins and insufficiency and knowing that it is God who works within us, perfecting us for His glory.
When you pray, do you oftentimes get weighed down with confessing your owns sins and repenting for every wrong thought and failure? Sometimes it seems we can’t get over this, living with constant memories from the past and old sins that caused great pain. Many people live continually with the words, “If only . . . if only . . . I wish,” playing through their minds, unable to move past their failures.
Sometimes we feel that we don’t pray enough. We are not spiritual enough. We don’t have enough of a burden for the lost. We feel we are not good husbands, good fathers, good wives, good mothers or good children. We think negative things about ourselves, and we begin to dwell on these thoughts, beating ourselves up because we don’t spend money wisely, don’t study enough or don’t pray enough.
We all have this problem—me included. Our expectations of ourselves can take us into spiritual darkness. This happens because we become our own judge. We become our law. We become our guide and teacher, the one who evaluates ourselves. In the end, it is a cesspool of self-centeredness and anguish.
Matthew 12:20 says, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.” Philippians 1:6 says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”