When the light of God’s truth shines on our weakness and failure, we see the futility of self-righteousness and realize that the only sensible response is to stop pretending things aren’t so bad. They are! Spiritual renewal and transformation require that we repent, which means to acknowledge and turn from our sins. But we cannot truly repent until we see ourselves as we are, as we all are: flawed, unholy, in need of redemption and complete reformation.
It is, after all, our shortcomings, losses, failures, fears, and needs that drive us to God. Rarely does anyone seek God when life is problem free. Seldom do they appreciate his love when surrounded by friends and family. Rarely do they appreciate his grace and forgiveness when they’re not suffering the consequences of their sin.
Many people who get started in the process of renewal get stuck because they are unwilling to make an assessment of themselves; for people who believe in nothing beyond themselves, the idea of conducting a searching moral inventory is a frightening thing.
Seeing truth and accepting reality will cause discomfort, not giddy excitement or a surge of ambition. But spiritual renewal results when our discomfort leads us to the Cross, and ultimately to the crucifixion of self, as the apostle Paul described when writing to the church in Galatia: “I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19-20).
Daily death to self is the beginning of a life filled with the power of the living Christ.
Excerpted from “Seven Keys to Spiritual Renewal” by Steve Arterburn