Jesus holds me to the Rock: A reflection on self-righteousness in my Christian journey

“We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us!”

– Henry David Thoreau

Jesus says that everyone who hears His words and puts them into practice is like a man who builds his house on a rock. The rains come, the storm rages, and yet his house does not fall because it is built on the rock (paraphrase, Matthew 7:24-25). 

If I’m honest, my Christian journey has not often felt like having my feet firmly planted. 

Likely, this is because my Christian faith has not always been deeply rooted in obedience to the teachings of Jesus. Let’s be real, just because we say Jesus is Lord does not mean He has Lordship over our lives. I am still a work of redemption in progress. I am still handing it all over, even today.

My earlier years consisted of a series of events that continuously washed me off the foundation. I was caught in one monsoon after another that stirred up an identity crisis revealing deeper and deeper levels of egotistical mania within my human heart. 

In early adulthood, I’ve enjoyed the view from a few plateaus providing glimpses of what it means to hold Jesus at the center of it all and have my feet firmly planted in His will. I’ve relished the view, but there have been times when my relish has slowly devolved to something self-righteous and cynical. I’ve been caught designing my life on the rock the way I’d like to see it, making my own plans. But the Lord—in His great mercy— will allow yet another wave of great suffering to crash upon me, sending all my hard self-righteous work flying across the sea.

In suffering, something embarrassing happens to me. I am not the type who suffers well. All self-righteousness implodes and I find I can do no more than display flourishing self-pity—a prime example of the opposite of prudence.  The storms the Lord has allowed in my life reveal that I am not only egotistical—but, at my core, I am still tempted to become the very enemy of the One who created me. 

But God uses the suffering in His miraculous way (miraculous, because it is un-human). He does what I—on my own—can not fathom possible…

He changes me, again.

The Narrator of Life sends the remains of my scaffolding to the bottom of the sea and then rips out my heart–replacing it with His own glorious, perfect, heroic, beating heart for humanity–and for His church.

And I, seasick and weak from the tumult, humbled by His grace, can feel the very hands of Jesus holding my feet firmly to the Rock. 

My Christian walk has not often looked like a strong, steadfast person firmly standing on solid ground, but—rather— like a bloodied Savior holding the feet of a sometimes very tired person—suicidal in her tendencies toward egomania—to the very Truths found in His Word.

Jesus says that the poor in spirit are blessed. I am completely bankrupt. Everything I am depends fully on the Father’s love—I cannot even keep my feet on the Rock without His very hands holding me there.

The Lord does it all.

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