Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. -Romans 12:3
We are a generation that thinks too highly of ourselves.
We truly believe we should have the best. Sometimes we even think we should have it right now. Everything in our lives should be magically perfect: our jobs, our hobbies, our cars, our marriages, our talents, our homes, our families, our finances, our social lives… our partnership with God.
If you don’t actually think this to be the case for you or in general, please feel free to stop reading. This post will just waste your time.
But if the above statements make your insides twinge just a hint, join the dialogue.
We think too highly of ourselves because, well, let’s face it. We. Are. Awesome. Each and every one of us. We’re each a one-of-a-kind, stand alone, uniquely fantastic human being. We have ingested the mantra that we can be whoever we want to be and do whatever we want to do. We can spin straw into gold and our poop don’t stink.
We finish college and think, ok world, I’m ready and let’s face it, you’ll be thankful simply for my shadow to darken your company’s doorstep. I don’t have time to waste in the trenches stapling papers and being mentored! My greatness belongs at the top.
We date a young man or woman and spend our time and effort analyzing if this person would be good enough for us. I mean, since we’re perfect and all. We check our “Mr./Mrs. Right” lists with our top ten non-negotiables we wrote in junior high youth group and, if we find them wanting, heck! Move on to another. The sea is plentiful.
We read our Bibles and devotionals, attend homegroups and Bible studies, go to church, and sing worship songs like angels. And in turn, we expect God to speak to us as profoundly as He has with David, Moses and Paul. Why? Oh, because we’re awesome. And we deserve it.
Ok, fine. These examples are somewhat outrageous. But maybe a few of you can agree that the concept has a ring of truth to it. Our culture SCREAMS that we deserve the best, and we are the number 1 priority in our lives and, really, we think we should be number 1 in the lives of everyone around us. And I believe young Christ-followers have subconsciously adopted a form of this ideology.
Do you ever finish a movie like Spiderman and think you’d like to be that one extra in a tan trench-coat who runs across the screen in scene 6? No! You would rather imagine yourself as Peter Parker. We believe we are the stars of our lives.
Why do I think we, as a general generation, think we should have the best? Because this is what I have found to be true in my own perceptions.
I think life throws a few types of lessons our way. Some are quick lessons that you hopefully learn the first time through… like a hot oven burner will melt your flesh off if you put your hand on it. Or misery, inflicted from a shocked parent, will swiftly accompany that moment of artistic inspiration that prompts your 4 year old self to give your sibling a “haircut.”
Then there are the lessons that will stick to your ribs like a fat bowl of morning oatmeal. You’ll digest them the rest of your life. One of these lessons for me has been the precarious balance between humility and confidence. I’d like to tell you all I’m becoming more humble, but the more “humble” I get, the more I realize how my heart is drenched in pride disguised as healthy self-confidence.
I approach/ed my faith thinking I’m awesome enough that God will speak to me as He spoke to David, the man after God’s own heart. After all, I’ve declared myself a Christ-follower at a time when “Christian” is a bad word. I have the inconvenience of people making snide comments about me out of my hearing range and I’ve somehow “lowered my IQ” with this Christian label. Such horrendous, American persecution merits, nay, deserves a crystal clear and easy relationship with God… right?
When I pray, I immediately run to a burning bush to receive my Voice-of-God reward for thinking about Him. I mean, isn’t that all it takes to know God intimately? Five minutes of prayer when I can squeeze it in? When I need something?
I am going to make a confession. I truly thought I would be exponentially instrumental for God by just being me. I thought my life’s work had the potential to be as vital to God’s kingdom as Billy Graham because of just a 10 minute quiet time I checked off my daily to-do list. I thought my holy life would stand out from the crowd without much effort on my part.
But it’s time to stop treating God like a microwave. We shouldn’t place our prayers in a box, push all the Christianese prayer buttons for a couple minutes and expect an instant result. There’s a reality that we need to grasp. That I need to grasp.
We might not be the next David today. But maybe we can come closer to that degree of intimacy over time.
We are young. We, for the most part, have less wisdom than some people who have collected a couple more decades of Christ pursuit than us. We are on the precipice of life’s offerings and God’s grace. But we need to work hard. We need to genuinely see ourselves as we really are. We must be humble.
We may need to drive that old beater truck given to us by our grandparents. We may need to take that job that isn’t super-fulfilling, but pays the bills and builds character. We may need to get off our high horses and date someone with the focus on whether we bring out the best in them.
We need to realize a strong relationship with God takes time and intentional burial of self.
My point is, I’m proud. And this pride has wasted so much of my time. Time I’ve spent waiting for God to come around to my agenda and my perspectives. Time I’ve spent wondering why I don’t have all the best of everything right now instead of working hard in pursuit of developing those things. Time wondering why things aren’t magically falling into place.
My point is, our generation is proud. We can’t spin straw into gold. And we all really need to purchase a bottle of PooPourri.
Let us be honest in our evaluation of ourselves and measure ourselves with God’s standard. Let us be humble. Let us be brave and see ourselves as lowly with our eyes fixed on becoming more, all to His glory.