Monday, May 17, 2010


In the Kingdom of God, things are upside down from the world we were born into. Those who lay down their lives discover new life. The first are last. Those who humble themselves are exalted. The greatest is the servant of all. Those who die to themselves daily discover life eternal.

But what is actually "upside down" is this world, not the Kingdom of God. God's reality is the rightside up one. Ours is the one that needs to be corrected, not God's.

Having been born into this upside down reality on Planet Earth, I am constantly struggling to see things from the perspective of God's Kingdom. It's not an easy thing to do.

For years I have wrestled with my own prideful heart. Perhaps I never had a fair chance at this since I was an only child and my entire life I've been the center of my own universe. At any rate, the fact remains that, no matter how many times I die to myself, this heart of pride just will not stay dead.

I lay back on the cross. I drive the nails. I roll the stone over the door. But my sinful, selfish heart continually rises from the dead.

I die daily. But my heart of flesh daily lives and breathes.

After all these years I turn around to see how far I've come on this journey of faith and instead I see that I have barely left the gate. In fact, I wonder if I have moved forward at all because I seem to be in the exact same place I have always been.

My heart is deceitfully wicked. I cannot trust my own inner man. Even when I believe I am serving others and living for Jesus my flesh has the power to reach out and subtly turn the spotlight back on my own ego.

Like the Pharisee, I confess that I have done my works of righteousness before men to be seen by them and celebrated. Of course, most of this is done subconsciously, but when I take the time to examine my motives closely I have to admit, there is still a part of me that does things so that people will see it and take note.

Last week, the Lord Jesus, in His mercy, held up the mirror to my soul again. He allowed me the briefest glimpse at my own selfish heart and it crushed me.

To my own eyes it appears as a dark, cancerous ooze in my soul. I cannot look directly at it very long without feeling sick. Yet, as much as I hate to admit it, this is me. This is who I am without Jesus.

For a long time now, I have mistakenly considered this prideful, selfish behavior as being like a Pharisee. Yet, now I realize that this is actually just part of being a human being.

It's my humanity that makes me selfish, and sinful, and hopelessly pathetic, not my "Pharisee-ness" (whatever that might be).

So, today I am trying my best to take everything one step at a time. I realize, once again, what it really means to have a "constant conversion" and to put to death my own status quo (Conversatio Morem!).

One great thing about all of this is that it reminds me to depend upon Jesus for everything. To the degree that I am in touch with my humanity, my weakness, my failure, I can appreciate the wonder and the majesty of God's amazing love and grace.

He is the vine. I am one of the tiny branches. Without Him, I can do nothing. Nothing at all.

"And now I know the secret that only losers keep, and I wallow in the hopeful tears that every finder weeps."


Unknown said...

Keith, thanks for sharing your struggles. Jesus is faithful even when we are not, this is a truth that continues to be learned over and over by myself. I had been feeling many of the same things as you lately. Your blog post along with Alan Knox post today -Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters- over at
These two post today have given me the encouragement I needed, thanks for sharing. Regards, John Morris.

JavaJeff said...

I'm on that path myself. It's a "two steps forward; one step back" that feels and looks very much like "one step forward; two steps back." Who will rescue us? - is a rhetorical question.