Once more, I can see how the Lord helps me grow, as yesterday I came accross this gem of truth by Todd Nibert which digs deep into one of the truths about which I have been reading lately in the book Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges:
“One of the remarkable things about growth in grace is that the more you grow–the smaller you become in your own eyes.
In the first epistle Paul ever wrote, he was “the least of all apostles.”
He later wrote to the Ephesians that he was “less than the least of all the saints.”
Shortly before his death he wrote to Timothy, “I am the chief of sinners.”
So how could this great apostle, a new creature in Christ, describe himself so lowly?
Jerrry Bridges clarifies this question beautifully in his book Respectable Sins when he says,
“Sin is much more than wrong actions, unkind words, or even those evil thoughts that we never express. Sin is a principle or moral force in our heart, our inner being.
Now, here is the unvarnished truth that we need to lay to heart. Even though our hearts have been renewed, even though we have been freed from the absolute dominion of sin, even though God’s Holy Spirit dwells within our bodies, this principle of sin still lurks within us and wages war against our souls. It is the failure to recognize the awful reality of this truth that provides the fertile soil in which our “respectable” or “acceptable” sins grow and flourish.”
How important, then, it is to be fully aware of the war that sin fights against our spirit, and recognize that not all our thoughts and desires are pure, as the Scripture says, “…the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).
May we examine ourselves daily against the example of Christ, praying to the Lord to whom we have surrendered our lives to reveal our sinful nature in those daily big and tiny details, and may He transform us to the likeness of His Son.
Finally, may this statement by the apostle be a true desire and prayer in our minds and hearts today, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).