There are times when I (we?) feel good about how I’m doing in my walk with God. I feel as though I’m listening to God’s voice and making sincere effort to follow His commandments. It is a comparison game that my own self-centered hearts get’s me into. You know, I haven’t yelled at anyone in the last week. I’ve been listening well and being fully present with those I’ve encountered. And I’ve tried to be honest and not deceptive in my work.I’ve been friendly to my neighbors.
Comparison in our own minds is a dangerous endeavor.
It distracts me from doing what I need to be doing. I’m in essence patting myself on the back for having received some measure of grace, but somehow thought that it was of my own doing. How self-diluted of me. What’s the corrective in these situations when I’m giving myself of good grade? Reading any word from God’s Word. The Spirit has a way of using a word of truth to break down our walls of self-centeredness. I’m not talking about the times when we hear the voice of the Father say, “Well done.” Or an echo of God from my fellow travelers who appreciate me and the acts of kindness I do. I’m talking about when I’m operating from the false self, not the true me. The I’ve got it all together false pride from some kind of score keeping that I do.
That’s what I was doing this morning when I was reading the June 26 entry in “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” that was put together by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove a few years ago. And the Spirit took Psalm 119: 136 and pierced my gut with it. Here are the words the Psalmist wrote:
My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.
“When have you done this? “ the Spirit asked. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that, I thought.
That’s the kind of testing of my heart that God had for me today. It was eye-opening and heart-awakening.