Know Who You Are

If you are going to live the productive life that God’s grace can enable you to live, you need to stay very clear about who you are.

We all tend to be quite adept at ignoring our own sin while being highly sensitized to the sin of others. It is hard for us to receive the loving criticism, confrontation, and rebuke of others because we tend to think of ourselves as more sanctified than we actually are.

As the Bible invites us to look intently into it, as into a mirror, it invites a humbling and accurate self-assessment. The biblical doctrine of sin confronts each of us with the reality that we are not as good as we imagine we are, and therefore more needy and vulnerable than we typically consider ourselves to be.

Now what does this have to do with living productively in a fallen world? It is square one. If you minimize in any way the significance of the war that goes on inside of every sinner, you will tend to minimize your own vulnerability to the daily temptations that greet us all amidst the brokenness of this world. When you underestimate your potential for temptation, you don’t go through your day alert to it, planning to avoid it as you should.

In that condition, temptation can easily slip past your lowered defenses, so you find yourself tricked and deceived again and again. There’s no mystery here. You were unprepared because you did not enter the situation with a humble sense of your own sinfulness.

It is also true that when you minimize the presence and power of the sin that remains in you, you do not reach out for the help of God and others. Self-righteousness can cause us to try to live more independently than God ever intended. We do not reach out for help because, frankly, we do not think we need it. So we live independent and self-sufficient lives, the kind we were never hardwired to live.

Trying to live independent of the daily intervention of God and others is like trying to bake a cake in a washing machine. That washing machine is a wonderful creation, but it was never designed to do what you are asking it to do. All you will end up with is a soapy batter, a dirty machine, and a badly dented pan!

Productive living is always rooted in a humble sense of personal neediness. This neediness only comes when you begin to understand and accept what the Bible has to say about sin, and daily reach out for the help that can only be found through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Excerpted from Broken-Down House: Living Productively In a World Gone Bad by Paul David Tripp

Shepherd Press