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As we walk in brokenness, the temptation to love or hate ourselves seeks to pull the rug out from our every step.
Whether we stand in front of the mirror too much, or we can’t stand being in front of the mirror, how we see ourselves colors how we think about ourselves.
Today, social media acts as a microscope magnifying where we can’t measure up to our friends’ physical or financial figures. I’ve pressured myself to live up to standards passively imposed by people I follow on social media, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
The cross simultaneously tells us we are broken and beloved.
It’s a terribly sad endeavor, really—a mission which cannot be accomplished. I can never live up to others’ achievements—I can simply do what I am able in light of who I am and who God is.
How we view ourselves needs to be colored by the cross of Christ not our broken hearts.
I came across a passage in the book Glory Hunger by JR Vassar last week that echoes this. JR writes:
The vantage point of the cross of Jesus will always give us the best perspective about ourselves. Paul, whose accomplishments are rivaled only by Jesus himself, would boast in nothing but the cross (Gal. 6:14). It defined his life. To him, nothing spoke louder over his life than the cross. When we listen to it, it humbles us. John Stott writes:
Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.
The cross forces self-awareness upon us. It speaks the worse things that could ever be said about us. If pride is rising up in me over my accomplishments, strengths, or reputation, the cross says, “You are weak, powerless, foolish, selfish, lustful, lying, God belittling, and neighbor neglecting, and even your best acts are tainted with wrong motives and are filthy rags before God.” The cross deflates us and serves as a clarifying lens that allows us to see our true condition. When we are tempted to boast in ourselves, the cross tells us that we are not awesome.
Yet the cross also tells us that despite how not awesome we are, God loves us and wants us. The cross will plunge us to the depths of humility, causing us to put our hand over our mouths and silence our praise of self, and it will lift us to the heights, causing us to open our mouths in praise to God and his grace. The cross strips us of glory and at the same time bestows a more glorious glory upon us. When you are tempted to think highly of yourself, remind yourself of why Jesus had to die. Let the cross measure you, not your accomplishments, or your failures for that matter.
I love that passage. The cross simultaneously tells us we are broken and beloved.
The grace of God is our only hope in eternity. No intellectual ability, physical acumen, nor monetary gain survives death with us.
Don’t let Monday get you down. Cling to the cross.