“Holy”er Than Thou
Some people think that when you’re baptized you wake up the next day this new person. In some ways I guess that may be true, it’s pretty immense when you consider what Jesus did for us up on that cross. It’s hard not to “try” to be a new person.
But in my case at least, that didn’t happen. When Monday rolled around I didn’t jump out of bed and board an airplane for a missions trip. I “felt” like a new person. But that certainly doesn’t imply that the old me from the day before wasn’t still there.
Baptism doesn’t come with a lobotomy (although there are quite a few embarrassing memories that I would love to erase). I’ve been a Christian my whole life but have never behaved like one. I never really grasped the concept of what that looked like for me. I was raised in a house where the religion was one of fear. The God I knew from the Bible was one who punished and destroyed.
When I was baptized it was because I fell in love with the idea of becoming more like Jesus. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be just like him. He was truly the most amazing man who ever graced this planet. The thing that drew me the most was his ease for loving the underdog.
That’s someone I can easily relate to and Jesus loved people so well, without reason, without second guessing. He looked at people and looked past their mistakes and into their souls to really see who they were. No one was undeserving of his love. Even those who beat, brutalized and crucified him.
Every day I try to be like this man. Some days I succeed and some days I completely fail. But in no way do I think I’m “better” than anyone because my motives in life have changed. My background is in criticism and negativity. I spent a lot of my youth being educated in those two things. I’ve done my best to turn those around in my own home by noticing as many positives I possibly can in those around me.
But there are days when I override the few years I’ve been learning and the old me rears its head and says or does hurtful things. I have learned to apologize when those things happen. And I’ve learned something important these last few years, you have to be humble if you’re going to be anything remotely close to walking in Jesus’ footsteps.
A concept that was difficult for me to acknowledge. But I’ve come to love what I’ve learned about being humble. I bet some of the greatest people you know are humble. Think about it. Yep.
People make mistakes, it’s genetically engraved. But in my opinion, the true mark of a Jesus follower is admitting and asking forgiveness for a mistake. You’d be amazed at what that heals, grows, blesses and teaches.
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. ~ Matthew 26:27-29
You would have to be immensely and unimaginably humble to accept what he knew was coming next. He could have went against God (although, no.) but he humbled himself. For me. For you. For us. Let’s all be bit more humble in our interactions with one another.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11:29
Holy Spirit we pray that you will convict us and lead us into living with a humble heart. Please give us each learning spirits as we try to follow in your footsteps. Father, thank you for the blood of your son, Jesus Christ shed for an undeserving people. Let us worship and give you thanks by showing grace, mercy and compassion to one another.
In Jesus Name. Amen.
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Sometimes that humility part and admitting your mistakes and asking for forgiveness is SO HARD!
I love this perspective of growing into a Christian, rather than just getting dunked into it. Being like Jesus means so much more than just that first step. Thanks for reminding me that in humility lies the learning!! Great post, Tina!
True story: When we had our kids dedicated in faith (they baptize later), my son, then 6 turned to me and said, ” I feel like a Christian, already!” Made me giggle.
I think the whole humble/humility thing is especially hard to get right, or almost right, for those of us who grew up hearing put-downs and negativity. It’s a freaking challenge and a blessing to know that I am righteous only because of Christ, and there is all the self esteem needed in that. Why? Because the earthly side of me often tries to keep proving my worth and falling into false humility too often over deeds, etc. Daily struggle to “humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand…” but so worth it. Let’s grind on, sister. 😉
“to know that I am righteous only because of Christ, and there is all the self esteem needed in that.”
Powerful Gretchen- why do we need anything more?
Because of that dum dum flesh. sigh. ONE day.
“Let us worship and give you thanks by showing grace, mercy and compassion to one another.”
I know that I honor God when I give grace, mercy and compassion- especially to those who have hurt me and deserve it the least. But it’s so darned hard.
I feel like baptism (or just being a christian) should come with a wash, rinse, repeat label. I need daily reminders to humble myself before God and to love others as unconditionally as he loves me.
YES. Hard to remember that I’m someone else’s difficult person. God’s really. And still He loves.