Proverbs 20:6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
I had just expressed great anger at something I had done wrong when I heard the voice of the Lord from within me say, “Are you angry because you vexed the Holy Spirit, or are you angry because you just broke your own personal righteousness record?”
I could feel the heat of conviction from my shoulders up to my burning face. I could hear all the exit doors slamming shut with no way of escape, but to answer the Lord’s question. I said, “The fact that you asked the question the way you did is plain to see that I didn’t care-a-less how the Holy Spirit felt.” Rom. 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
We are extremely skilled at playing the role of a Christian, and we do not see the faded line that we have crossed until we are mired in self-righteousness. Jer. 17: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? On Oct 15th, 1987, I wrote this poem that clearly demonstrates to my heart, today, that I am still struggling with my self-made masks and cover-ups in order to display my own goodness.
Masks I wear are many, hiding awful thoughts.
A mask that fades the odious me that others peeringly saw.
A mask to hide my appetite of lewd and shameful ways.
I hid my real self very well from others looking on.
Their idea of me, I come out as polished bronze.
I lie, I cheat, I stimulate the mask that covers me.
That no one know the frightened breath that breathes inside of me.
My hope is that one day in life these masks will tumble down.
But did I write this to mask the thought that I might be found?
There is One who knows me true He created me long ago,
No mask I use can stop the burn of His judgmental stare and glow.
Fig-leaf to smiles I’ve tried them all but none seem too fair,
His love for me is real you see and it keeps me standing bare.
Thank God for the grace of His mercy that keeps us secure within His salvation, which He paid for with His blood and suffering. It was by His grace He drew us to Himself and it is His grace that keeps us with Him now, plus it will be His grace that will bring us into God’s eternity. All my works amount to the fact that they are mine, not His.
My works cannot get beyond me because the Holy Spirit isn’t promoting me, He is declaring Jesus Christ the Lord and His plan within me. Isa. 64:6a But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags.
We are invited to come boldly and obtain mercy to carry out the Lord’s agenda for us and others. Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. I have come to realise that my time of need is all the time. I need His grace and mercy working in me to overcome my constant drive to perform and gloat in my perceived Christian duty, rather than entering the rest that comes from trusting in His grace and wisdom.
Thank you, Lord, that you are not finished forming your nature within us. Yes, Lord, your grace is sufficient for us all, and we are to rely on God’s grace so that we can remove our masks that fit so well. 1 Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.