Life is indeed a paradox. While we are often instructed to examine ourselves – to see if we’re in the Faith [2 Corinthians 13:5] – we are discouraged from evaluating ourselves. There is a difference.
Once upon a time, there was a man who was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might.
Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture placing thoughts into the man’s mind such as: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure.
These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.” And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord.
“Lord,” he said, “I have laboured long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?” To this the Lord responded compassionately, “My child, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was only to push.
This parable reminds me that so many times, we estimate and attempt to give an account of our selves and “our” service toward God. At the moment we begin to make calculations – then we open the opportunity for discouragement. Since our estimation is very limited – we will only come up with a very limited estimation of ourselves.
Isaiah 55:8-9King James Version (KJV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Yes. Giving accounts, and making evaluations is very good for business; it is not so good when it comes to ourselves. And here are some of the reasons why I say this:
- We can “under” estimate ourselves (as we so often do) – by thinking that we haven’t made any improvements in the area of our desires. A thought like: “I should be further along by now” is an indication of an “under” estimation and calculation of ourselves.
- We can “over” estimate ourselves (this we do also) – by thinking, that because “we obtained” (actually we didn’t do it, but GOD did – Deuteronomy 8:18) the desired results that we’re doing the right thing. [Proverbs 16:2 / Proverbs 21:2]
In either calculation – this opens the door for Satan (Our Accuser – Revelation 12:10) to “come” in. Now the word: COME – is in quotations – because Satan is not some outside entity – but represents our very own EGO. From this, we can infer – that Satan (our ego) – is on the inside of us. Satan, is that part of us, that arises when our “why” or motive is not truly obeying God.
For example, in the above parable – the man (by his own accounts) thought that he wasn’t doing what God had instructed. Simply, because he wasn’t moving the massive stone. Therefore, Satan (his ego) began to become more relevant – than obeying God. God just said “push the stone…”
I said all of that – just to say this: Our job is to obey God – PERIOD! Not give an estimation of ourselves, or to determine if Life is unfair or not – our job is only to obey. Because, while we’re busy calculating and giving accounts for ourselves – we leave no room for God to “do it” (for lack of a better). Quick Question(s): Would you rather give an account or estimation of yourself – or – would you rather God do it?! Better yet, whose estimation do you REALLY trust – Gods’ – or your own?!
1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV) – And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams….
The bottom line is this: Once we stop evaluating ourselves – we will stop evaluating other people. Or Better said: Just Love and Obey God…Period!!! And, this is how we can easily determine if we’re doing what is “asked” of us: IF WE’RE LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS AS OURSELVES!
Again, Our Neighbor! Meaning our racist neighbor – our ugly neighbor – our rich neighbor – our poor neighbor – our Christian neighbor – as well as our Muslim neighbor – our straight neighbor – and our gay neighbor – our married neighbor – our single neighbor….etc. I think you get the picture. All of these labels, in the final analysis are nothing but evaluations (judgements) – and our only job is to LOVE them as we LOVE Ourselves. If we find ourselves, not LOVING others (and this includes LIKING) – for whatever reason – then our self evaluation is very simple: We Don’t Love God – Neither Do We Like (LOVE) Ourselves!!!
Mark 12:30-31King James Version (KJV)
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
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