Ten looks at self and one look at Jesus will make you a hypocrite. You will have to pretend to be spiritual, living with conflict and mental torture because you don’t measure up to your own standards. Hear the frustration in Paul’s voice when he writes of the great insufficiency of I in Romans 7:14–23. If you are this kind of individual there is no rest for you. This happens because you become too introspective, taking the focus off of Christ and placing it on yourself.
But one look at self and ten looks at Jesus will keep you going. Romans 7:24–25 says, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our LORD!” Yes! It is through Jesus Christ our Lord!
It is good to know our weaknesses and failures, for how can we confess our sins unless we see them as sins? Toward the end of his life, Paul calls himself the worst of sinners (see Timothy 1:15), knowing that in his flesh there dwelt nothing that was good. This is being honest about our true condition. But in this honesty, we must also know God’s longsuffering and faithfulness in working with us in our many weaknesses.
It is in knowing our true condition that we understand the fullness and completeness of God’s great love for us. We could never fully understand and appreciate what Christ has done for us until we know something of our wretched state. Knowing the offense in us causes us to understand the depth of His grace—that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The danger lies in dwelling on our sins, failures and shortcomings.
We must look to Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, the giver of all good gifts—our Master, Savior, Redeemer and Friend. We must trust Him. We must have faith that He will mold us into His image and that He will not give up on us. It took 20 years for God to make Jacob into Israel. But did God give up on him? No.
High standards are very good. We encourage people to read The Road to Reality, The Calvary Road, True Discipleship and other books whose authors challenge a deeper life and commitment. The tremendous challenge is to constantly abandon all and follow the Lord—walking away from friendship with the world and keeping ourselves free from the pollution of watered-down Christianity.