Friday, April 17, 2009

Confessions of a Selfish Mind

There are nights when I look into the bathroom mirror, really look, deep into my own eyes, confessing truths to myself that never come through my lips or over my tongue.

I am weak. I am powerless. I am completely unable to love as I know I am called to love. My selfishness consumes me. My pride, like gravity, pulls me to the ground and holds my feet to the cold, hard earth. I am unable to fly.

Deeper still, I admit my inconsistencies. I desire to be great in the eyes of men, and yet I know that true greatness is found at the feet of men, washing in humility.

I have a spiritual gift to teach others, but I fear the celebrity associated with the title of "teacher" and so I sit silently. I bite my tongue.

In my pride I secretly hope that one day I might be recognized for my expertise asked to speak at large conferences and join the spiritual giants on the big stage, and yet at the same time I loathe the empty hype of events and the vanity of religious experts.

I am torn. But not yet in two.

So, now, God has asked me to allow His Holy Spirit to probe into my dark, sinful heart. The Great Physician has me on the table, the gleaming scalpel in his hand, and He is asking me to lay back and relax and trust Him as the surgery begins.

Oh how I need this circumcision of the heart. Oh, how I need to be made more like Him.

To do only what I see the Father doing is to love others, because that is what He is doing every moment of every day. Yet, I realize that I am powerless to love. Love is not my native tongue. Selfishness chokes on my best intentions. Only Jesus can make me like Himself. There is no good in me. None.

So, I lay back. I close my eyes. I whisper a prayer that God's hand would move swiftly and cut deeply and remove the rotten, infectious flesh from my heart.

I have tried to make these cuts myself, but my hands are not steady enough. My sympathy for my own comfort restrains my ability to fully complete the surgery. So, I nip here and tuck there. I choose a careful section of flesh and slice around the sensitive nerves where pride and selfishness thrive. I hold up the small tumor and wave it like a trophy. Look at what I have learned to live without. Look how I am willing to sacrifice.

But I know it is a lie. Better still, God knows it too. And when I look into those eyes in the silent mirror I cannot pretend any longer.

Only God can make these necessary incisions. Only the One who loves me more than He loves His own life can find the place where I hide my selfish dreams and drive home the knife and cut away the infected flesh and remove every last ounce of pride from my heart.

Only God can heal the wounds, sew me together, wipe my tears away and kiss me where it hurts.

Let it begin.

"Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar" - U2, "Magnificent"

"...circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code." - Romans 2:29


Like a Mustard Seed said...

I think this is the most beautiful and honest thing that you've ever written, Keith. Thank you, for sharing a peice of you...

i caught a glimpse of the vulnerable person and friend we know. -Heather

i'm smiling and rejoicing in my heart as tears are filling my eyes. to allow yourselve to be humbled by Him is the most uplifting thing to another persons soul.

Troy Hamby said...

I second that comment...GREAT post! My wife and I (but mostly me) is going through something similar right now. Dying to flesh is easier to pray for than actually live. Thanks for sharing...

The Happy Rock said...

Let's try and keep that pride puffed up....that was one beautifully written and eloquent piece. Seriously!

That battle between knowing and doing is such a hard one to fight. I know only God can heal and that all my 'trying' really doesn't amount to anything. Yet I still always seem to fall back on myself rather than accepting Christ's invitation to growth. I don't want to pretend any longer, yet I do.

featuring chas pike said...

God created you as an individual not to deny yourself in him, but to celebrate him in you, in your own unique way. you can never be emptied out of yourself, as He is constantly filling you up, not just with Him, but with you, so that you may love him, and he may love you, like no other. you are beautiful.
grace and peace