What Christ has done for us not only calls for Him to be lifted up, but for us to be lowered down.
For those truly saved in Christ, there is a recognition that nothing is greater than salvation. Being brought from death into life, from darkness to light, from a state of bondage to freedom for those underserved, exhibits an incomprehensible love on display by God. Only the God of the bible, the one true God, extends such an offer out of pure grace. As saved sinners we revel in this fact… and we should. There is nothing like salvation and nothing like knowing the spirit of God is working efficaciously in us for the purpose of sanctifying us.
As Christians we delight in what God has done for us as well as what He is doing in us. The love that God expressed for us on the cross tends to create a desire to love even our enemies. With that in mind, for many Christians the idea exists that unbelievers will make their way to the cross if we can also express great love towards them. Committing ourselves to works such as humanitarian aid, adopting children, feeding the homeless, clothing the poor among many other things is a common way for Christians to express their love. These things are apart of our witness and things we should do. In this though, there is an inherent danger of becoming complacent in these works as a means to bring others to Christ and with that, there is a tendency to hide who we are behind these works.
Once saved we tend to minimize the work of Jesus within our own souls while trying to maximize the effect of His work through our works. Consequently we fail to leave ourselves open to being exposed as to what God has saved us from. We hide our struggles and only reveal our past sins if they’re small and we feel we’ve overcome them. Salvation does not make us perfect. It only ensures imperfect people can enter into the kingdom of Heaven by the grace of God. But when we fail to reveal our imperfections and fail to share with the world what God has sanctified in our lives we minimize Him to the world. I’m constantly reminded of the masks we wear as Christians whenever I hear other believers torture themselves over their inability to be perfect. Over their inability to live up to God’s standard no matter how hard they try. Over their inability to feel some sort of self-worth even though they’re Christians. Scripture, never conveys the idea of perfection for us who are saved while still living on earth. It does however speak to sanctification, being set apart as Holy due to the work of Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 13:12, 1 Corinthians 6:11). If anything, a Christian who is struggling with sin, feeling guilt over sin and hating their sin gives a good indication of someone who is saved. It is when one lacks conviction and becomes complacent with their sin should they be caused to examine themselves more closely to see if they’re truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Many Christians are struggling with sins ranging from pride to addiction to pornography. As Christians we need to be quick to confess where we’ve been and what God is working on in us. Now, this does not mean we should glorify sin or our sinful past. Christians should have testimonies, less we convey to the world and to those in the Church an idea of self-righteousness or self-sufficiency. Our confessions help reveal just how big and amazing our God is. It helps to provide a full witness to the truth of Christ. Being open about our struggles work to lower us and our works while raising up Christ and His work. It causes us to remove our masks. Our struggles reveal to others our desire and willingness to die to ourselves in order to be more like Christ. It helps to expose just where our faith is placed and who it is in. Revealing our struggles works to crush the ugly head of pride while simultaneously giving way to humility. Exposing our weaknesses to our brothers and sisters in the church should cause us to diligently pray for one another, realizing we’re all in this fight together. It becomes a constant, humble reminder of our plight and of our amazing God.
For the unbeliever it expresses our honesty in who we are. It can help remove the mask of self-righteousness the world believes we wear. All men are sinners and if we are to believe scripture, all men know of God and suppress the truth of Him (Romans 1:18-20). Sin, is a real relatable enemy. We all have it in common, from the believer to the unbeliever and this truth is unescapable. Let us be mindful that we are to show the world we are sinful, broken people who have been forgiven by a very good God. Let us not convey the idea that we are somehow void of sin or without struggle. Unbelievers are held captive by sin. Believers are not sinless but are simply no longer held captive by it.
When we think about how God is working in our lives He should be the focus and not us. Not our works, not our ministry or calling, not our relationships, not our financial plights but on Him and His sanctifying work in us. So we need to be careful to not swing too far to one side of the pendulum and make ourselves the focus. God working in our lives should speak to the very core of humanity which is wicked while also speaking to God’s ability to conform us into new creations. Through our confessions and open honesty of who we are and what we as believers contend with, this is made clear. It is God’s ability to change a man or a woman’s very soul, sanctifying us into the image and likeness of Christ. And this work, His work, is still being done in all of us whether we freely admit it or not. What Christ has done for us not only calls for Him to be lifted up, but for us to be lowered down.