Embracing Obscurity: Defining Ourselves
"Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. Let your soul be filled with a sense of the excellence of Christ." - Robert Murray M'Cheyne
When you think about the deeply narcissistic age in which we live and how much we are tempted and encouraged to be focused on ourselves, M'Cheyne's words still echo in our ears down through the corridors of time. We need to take them to heart every single day.
~ Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson, Name above All Names (37)
I look at myself too much. Not necessarily in a mirror, although that is probably true. Throughout the day, I look at myself constantly - internally grading my performance at work, mentally patting myself on the back for my efforts to care for my family, silently berating myself for not keeping our home as clean as I'd like, congratulating myself for any number of trivial things. There is no end to how often I think of myself. Is it any wonder I don't have time to take ten looks at Christ?
Chapter 2 of Embracing Obscurity challenged me to think about the way I define myself. Do I seek to be known by my accomplishments, the number of children I have, my career, my church service? In some ways, I believe these things all define who I am. They are what make me, me. But the question is, how much of my value do I find in them? How much do they cause me to look to myself, instead of Christ?
Just as we use a dictionary to define words, we who are believers in Christ should use the Bible to define ourselves. Carefully contemplating Scripture puts my preoccupation with myself in perspective. As the Apostle Paul knew, believers have but one reason to boast. (Galatians 6:14)
[Paul] refused to live for any of the things that people usually live for. He did not boast about his popularity, intellect, influence, appearance, income, or job performance. Nor did he boast about his circumcision (or about anything else in his spiritual record for that matter). Paul absolutely refused to take pride in any of his abilities or accomplishments at all, which was strange, because those are exactly the things that people usually do take pride in.May it be true of me, Lord. May it be true of me.
~Philip Graham Ryken, Galatians (274)
This Autumn I'm blogging through Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything. Find out why here.