I don't know if you've ever looked at yourself and felt like a nothing.
Nothing is probably pretty harsh, but like even when you try your hardest that effort falls so far short of the mark.
I'm not a real big fan of whining, except when I do it of course but one of the more difficult parts of being a pastor, at least for me and believe me there are a lot of great things about being a pastor but one of the things that's hardest for me is that you end up hearing alot about problems people are having with the church.
It's not that I don't like hearing about the problems. Often they are real problems. And I want to help.
That's what I'm here for.
It's that I can take it personally. Not so much personally as in you are attacking me. More personally like, you are right and man, I have played a part. After all I'm serving as the pastor, the leader.
But you look at all the ways you are failing on a regular basis, especially the ways you are failing when you are trying hard to do your best and you can get discouraged.
I'm not sure what you say to encourage a person who is feeling like that, but I thought I'd tell you one of the things that I say to myself.
It's actually worse than I imagine.
I mean I'm worse than I imagine.
When I get discouraged I'm often looking at mistakes. The Bible when it talks about my problems overlooks all that and goes straight to the real, significant problem which is sin. Because I tend to be so superficial, it gives me all kinds of pictures to help me grasp how deep my sin problem goes.
It's like a debt.
This billion dollar debt with one hundred percent interest.
It's like slavery…like death…like a stain I can't rub out.
I think one of the best ways to understand how serious my sin problem went is to look at the consequences. I'm glad I can't do this, but if I could, if I could take you on a little field trip to hell you'd be grossed out. It would be beyond the most horrifying image you could imagine. You'd probably vomit.
I remember this scene in Hotel Rwanda.
The hotel manager is driving somewhere right before daybreak and his van keeps hitting these bumps. It gets to the point where he can't move forward. He gets out. And it's foggy and the sun is just starting to rise and he slowly sees what he's been running over.
I can't remember if he vomited, but he should have if he didn't. A horrific scene.
But hell's worse.
And hell's right. That's the thing. Sin is that bad. God is not unjust with hell. He's completely just. That's the point. You start to look at the consequences of sin, the smallest sin and you start to see that your problem, my problem goes so much deeper than we ever thought it did.
Not being the best preacher ever, not having all the gifts, that's really not much of an issue in comparison the problem of sin.
And here's the deal, this is where things start to look up.
God says in Christ, I'm forgiven. The debt has been paid. The stain has been cleaned. All that sin, I look back on a life of sin and I look forward and see that I'm going to sin even more and I look to the cross and I realize that every single sin I've ever committed and every single sin I'll ever commit, it's been taken care. In God's sight, it's gone. There's not one sin left unforgiven. Not one spot.
I've got it good.
Actually, I've got it better than good.
Because I look to Jesus and I see pure perfection. I mean, here's someone who actually is worthy. Get this, here's a guy who never thought a wrong thought. If we all followed him around for thirty years and we were somehow able to like scribble down every thought he ever thought and then like, we could pull one random thought out and look at it, not in light of our own standard but in light of the absolutely holy God's standard, that thought would be one hundred percent the right thought. He never said the wrong thing. He never got sinfully angry, never gave into sinful lust. He never woke up and thought to himself here's a day I'm going to be selfish. There was not even an hour he was selfish. Not even a minute he was selfish. Not even a moment he was selfish. More than that, what amazes me, it wasn't just like he never did the wrong thing. He always did the right thing.
I look at Jesus and I'm humbled, I'm awed.
This is what when it comes to holiness, I wish I could be.
And I look back at my Bible and I realize, this is the righteousness God has clothed me in. When he looks at me, he looks at me like I lived Jesus' life.
Or to quote Paul, "He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
The righteousness of God.
Don't feel sorry for me.