I heard a minister once speaking about the timeline of the apostle Paul’s writings. He noted how Paul thought less and less of himself as time went on, according to the way he described himself in his letters. This oddly comforts me.
You would think that as we grow (hopefully), that we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. That we would become more and more content with who we are, more and more comfortable in our own skin. Maybe it’s just me (and the apostle Paul), but I recognize more and more who I am not. I see more clearly and distinctly the habits, issues and flesh struggles that have to be crucified every day. I don’t typically wake up with a feeling of “Yay! I am getting there! This is going to be the day that I don’t mess something up!”
There are those age points that there is a shifting in appearance. Something significant doesn’t bounce back like it used to, and you think it will eventually. However, after some time goes by, you find that the shift became your new normal. You didn’t mean to accept it, but gradually you changed. Gradually you aged. Then one day you look back at a picture and wonder what in the world happened to that person.
This isn’t meant to be a negative statement of how we view ourselves physically and spiritually. That is one of the beautiful things about aging to me: your perspective can also shift. I don’t want to look like a 20 year old! I want my life’s circumstances to be evident. I want people to know that I have been loved by one man for a long time, and that I have been a mom to two of the most beautiful children God ever created.
Likewise, I don’t want to have the viewpoint of an infant spiritually…I want to increasingly recognize chains that still need broken, issues that still need dealt with, and pieces of me that still need to die daily. I don’t want to grow more and more comfortable with who I am—I want who I am to continually decrease, so that the Lord’s Presence in my life can increase.
Yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me—but I can’t do anything without Him. And I realize this more and more every day.
Lord, I am so thankful that You don’t stop teaching, training and convicting me. Please don’t ever let me get comfortable and complacent. I strive to know You more. Let it truly be less of me and more of You, God. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:7-11