Our self-esteem must come from who we are in Christ and what Christ has done for us. This should give us an enormous satisfaction and sense of worth. The King and Creator of the universe cares for us and loves us. He is living within, guiding, loving, and holding us! There is no adequate substitution for that! But, it is sad that we try so hard to substitute the wonders of the truth of what Christ did for us with stupid insignificant lies. It would be like giving up living on the Queen Mary to live on a rowboat. We think our pride, not Christ, is the answer. Christ is calling us from an over-exaggerated opinion of ourselves, calling us from our vanity and from our delusions of conceit. Christ calls us out of conceit, which is faith in ourselves, and into Himself.
The practical application of pride is if, when we go to church, we see someone strut around the place like a rooster in a hen house, full of themselves and swimming in their delusions. When a non-Christian visits the church, or even when a Christian has a confrontation with Mr. & Mrs. "Puff Up," the result is hurt and disillusionment with the church. This Mr. & Mrs. "Puff Up" are full of themselves and not full of Christ, so the comments of arrogance and the attitude of condescension flows from their words and actions. I cannot count how many times I've seen this played out in churches and it hurts me so much. Imagine how it must hurt our Lord!
God's Covering Protects: God is not in the business of gossip, hypocrisy, or legalism. Neither are the angels and hosts of heaven. They look down at us from heaven and know all of our deepest innermost secrets. The angels see them in plain view, but do they act on this knowledge? Are they talking among themselves on how bad and wicked we can be now? NO! God creates a blanket that covers us, nurtures, and protects us from ourselves. This covering also protects God from our wicked nature. God is Holy and cannot be corrupted by our sin, so His grace covers us. In theology, this is called propitiation. God's wrath is pleased by the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf. Our response for this covering must be the response of modeling God's character. We model Him when we look and respond to each other, Christian or non-Christian, with love, care and respect. The question is, do we go around and uncover each other's blankets, reviewing the wickedness into…well, we do! But, God's desire is for us to model His character. When we are modeling His character, we do not go around slandering one another with hypocrisy or legislating rules to make ourselves feel good.
Let us not fall into the trap of putting on a performance, of acting out the Christian life. Let us not play a Christian, but let us be a Christian. Let our actions be in response to the transformation of Christ's grace by living honest lives. We must allow Christ's amazing grace to root out all the evil within us, especially the hypocrisy that causes so much destruction.
© 1998, 2002 R.J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/