I’m thinking alot this week about a verse tucked away at the end of 1 Corinthians chapter 1. Paul’s talking about our salvation and he’s saying that God specifically designed our salvation “…so that no human being might boast in the presence of God…”
It just seems to me (and I know I’m going out on a limb here) that if God went to the lengths he did to design our salvation in such a way for the express purpose of keeping us from boasting in ourselves, He probably doesn’t really like it when we boast in ourselves.
Yet, here’s where I start crying, isn’t the exact thing many of us are spending much of our lives trying to do? God saves us so that we wouldn’t boast in ourselves, and then we go out and try to find ways to boast in ourselves.
Sick, isn’t it?
Instead of getting all freaked out about our nothingness and looking at our lack of importance as a big old negative, can we just start resting in it – it is actually a positive because it helps me remember that it’s not about me – it’s about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I’m not saying that we go around our whole lives with our heads hung low, muttering poor old me to ourselves. I’m just saying that we stop thinking that doing this or doing that or becoming this or becoming that is the solution. It’s not.
Bernard of Clairvaux explains, “Now when I reflect upon my soul – which by the grace of God I sometimes do – it seems to me that I discover in it, so to speak, two opposite aspects. If I consider it in and of itself, I can say nothing more truly of it than it is reduced to nothing. What need is there now to enumerate the individual miseries of the soulo, how it is burdened with sins, enveloped in darkness, enslaved to pleasure, itching with lusts, subject to passions, filled with delusions, always prone to evil, bent to every sort of vice…in a word, filled with shame and confusion…Man is nought.
Yet how can he whom God magnifies be nothing? How can he upon whom God has set his heart be nothing. Brethren let us take heart again. Even if we are nothing in our own hearts, perchance something of us may be hidden in the heart of God. O Father of mercies…O Father of the miserable! How canst thou set thy heart upon us…For where thy treasure is, thine heart is also. But how are we thy treasure if we are nothing? All the nations are as nothing before thee, they will be accounted by thee as nothing. So, indeed before thee, not within thee: so in the judgment of thy truth, but not so in the intention of thy faithfulness. So indeed thou callest those things which are not as though they were. And they are not, therefore because it is the things that are not that thou callest, and the are at the same time because thou callest them. For although, as regards themselves, they are not, nevertheless with thee they are; but as the apostle says, not of their works of righteousness, but of him who calls…If we diligently examine what we are, under these two considerations, or rather if we examine how from the one point of view we are nothing, and from the other how magnified…I believe our glorying will be appear moderate, yet will be greater and better founded than before, so that we glory not in ourselves but in the Lord.”