do you think you’re pious?

1 07 2006

I want to share something I’ve thought about for a few years now…  Watch your toes, though, because it’s not an easy word to swallow.  It sure stepped on my toes.

We tend to think we’re more pious than we are.  (I don’t hear the word “pious” too much anymore, so let me put this another way.)  We tend to think we’re more spiritually mature and holy than we actually are.  Now, before you get offended or quit reading, please hear me out.  I’m not directing this at any particular person or group; I think it applies to almost everyone.  I think it’s natural for us to be this way, and so we must be careful that we aren’t deceiving ourselves.  Now let’s continue…

I suspect most of us tend to think we’re doing pretty good at serving Jesus.  We may not think that directly, but we fail to realize how poorly we actually are doing.  We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions rather than what we do (and thus how we really are).  Let’s look at a few areas where most of us fall way short of Jesus’ standard.

Are you fulfilling the Great Commission?  Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone and make disciples.  Is a primary focus of your life on preaching the Gospel and testifying before non-Christians?  Are you making disciples?

Are you putting God first in every situation?  Or is part of your life based on what you want to do?  Even if we are trying to be “good”, it’s not about that — it’s about doing God’s will for your life.

Are you living a holy life?  I realize none of us are perfect and we won’t be in this life, but are we really trying?  Are we entertaining ourselves with the type of things that sent Jesus to the cross?  (Yeah, think about that for a minute.)  Are we tolerating sin that’s “not that bad”?  Are we struggling with the same things over and over and over, just assuming that “someday” we’ll be free of it?

Are you walking with God throughout each day?  Are you speaking to Him and hearing His voice?  Is your relationship with God vibrant and fresh, or is it based on just doing the right things?  Are you in love with God more than with your spouse?  Are you closer to Him than with your best friend?

Have you surrendered everything to God?  It’s easy to sing “I Surrender All”, but have we really?  Is there any area of our life that we just don’t want to let go of?  Have we laid down all our dreams and desires on the altar?

I don’t mean all this in a condemning way.  Really, I don’t.  I fall short of this standard.  Everyone does.  Does that mean we are worthless losers?  No, not at all.  God loves us in spite of our sin (but He wants to free us from our sin).  God loves us because of who He is, not because of our good works.  Our “righteousness” is worthless, but God’s grace makes the difference.  It’s not by our (attempt at) good works that we are saved — it’s only by God’s grace.  My point in writing all this is to help us realize that we are still falling short of God’s standard, and so we should embrace His grace and not take it for granted.

Another reason I wrote this is to remind us that there is so much more of God that we can be experiencing in our relationship with Him.  It’s great to be saved, no doubt, but we should be striving to be as close to God as we can get.  We should want to be closer to God.  And I think most Christians do.  (If not, your salvation is questionable.)  But when we think everything is okay, that we’re doing good at our Christian walk, we tend to neglect God and take grace for granted.  Even on our best days, it’s still only by God’s grace that we are saved.

I pray this helps you in some way.  My goal is not to offend people or condemn them.  I’m trying to grow closer to and more intimate with God, and I want to help other people too.

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5 responses

6 07 2006
MzMobo

Staying humble takes a daily effort of renewing your mind. If a person isn’t consciously fighting the piety-syndrome (or sin-drome) then it might be good to let the Holy Spirit go probing…you know, the sharp, two-edged sword kind of probing…

Many times much of our problem is comparing ourselves with what we see around us. Even in many churches one could feel quite self-satisfied if a person were to compare themselves to those around them. Then take a look out at the world, and low and behold, you’ve arrived! However, the Word compares itself to a mirror. When we begin to look intently into that mirror and compare ourselves to the Word, humility comes easy, piety takes a back seat, and grace will once again be greatly appreciated.

6 07 2006
MzMobo

Luke 21:34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. ”

We frequently look at things as “to sin or not to sin.” At some point we reach a level of maturity where sin is the exception and not the rule. The warning Christ gives us when talking about things we should be concerned about is that we could just be so busy about the cares of this life we may become distracted. With a lot of Christians it’s not a question of a choice to sin–they would never consider it. But are we too busy with “stuff to do” that we aren’t taking the time to cultivate a relationship with Him? When we want the presence and the power of God there is a price to be weighed. Are we willing? Willing to become a servant? Willing to push back the plate and the fork? Willing to lose sleep to cry out for lost souls and cover our missionaries? Willing to tarry at the altar in the Lord’s presence? Are we willing to give up things that entertain to keep our focus on things of the Spirit?

We don’t have to not want to pray or fast or study or minister…we just have to be too busy.

Wow. Think I’ll go pray…

8 07 2006
Captain Wuss

There’s a reason for Romans 8:1,2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” I think Paul new how important it would be for imperfect Christians to understand that when they do fail in sin, there is grace waiting for them. I cannot tell you the number of times I have asked the Lord why He puts up with me. At times it seems like I’m cruising along doing great not sinning, but at other times it feels like all I do is sin. What’s the difference? I usually find I have slacked off in prayer, or haven’t read my bible, or I’ve let my guard down spiritually. As for the pious feeling…. I believe that is why God lets us go through trials and tribulations. They often remind us of how insignificant we are and how much we need God. Without Him we are nothing, and with Him we can be everything.

12 07 2006
Beppo’s Blog » Blog Archive » do you really want to know God more?

[…] While thinking about this, I feel convicted, too.  I want to know God more intimately than I currently do, and I know there is so much more of God to know, yet I also have to deal with distractions (and I often don’t do as well as I should).  Also, it’s easy to “judge” ourselves based on our intentions.  “Yeah, I want to know God more, so I must be doing good, right?”  (I recently wrote on this mentality; see “do you think you’re pious?“)  But if I continue to be distracted from my time with God, then there are some issues in my heart that need to be fixed.  God still has work to do in me, and fortunately He will continue the good work He has begun in me!  (See Philippians 1:6)  I am so thankful He is patient with us! […]

13 04 2009
Are you trusting God or His blessings? « Beppo’s Blog

[…] That’s just something to think about…  It’s good to ask ourselves these tough questions, because I think we tend to think we’re more spiritual than we really are. […]

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