No Fair

logo_retinaWhen I tell the righteous person that he will surely live, but he trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity, then none of his righteousness will be remembered, and he will die because of the iniquity he has committed. So when I tell the wicked person, “You will surely die,” but he repents of his sin and does what is just and right— he returns collateral, makes restitution for what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without practicing iniquity—he will certainly live; he will not die. None of the sins he committed will be held against him. He has done what is just and right; he will certainly live. But your people say, “The Lord’s way isn’t fair,” even though it is their own way that isn’t fair. (Ezekiel 33:13-17)

We cannot rest on our accomplishments or convict someone on their faults. Our good deeds and faith don’t carry us through if we abandon them, just as our offenses don’t condemn us if we turn and leave them behind. God wants ongoing, respectful relationship. But we want to be able to determine just what we can and can’t do. We want some control. We want to declare what is fair and what isn’t. And when we begin to understand that following Him isn’t about fairness, we can throw our hands up and declare God is wrong to do things His way, and people are wrong to follow and trust Him, and we’re better off without Him.

No fair!

But God is beyond fair. His standards aren’t like the ones we create, where everything fits into boxes that can’t ebb and flow beyond the boundaries that comfort us the most. We like to declare, “Foul! Wrong! Good! Bad! Right!” But who are we trying to convince?

Maybe we need to be quiet long enough to let God do a little convincing of His own.

My Worth Is Not the Sum of My Accomplishments

numbersYou’ve heard it before: who you are is not equal to what you do. You’ve been warned about placing your identity in your profession, position, responsibilities, activities. But it’s easier said than done.

Pride.

It’s gets in the way all the time. It pulls our focus away from God and onto ourselves. Whether we think of ourselves as too high or too low, the root is the same: pride.

When you’ve gone through your task list for the day, or at least accomplished the really essential things, which do you do first: take a deep sigh of relief and think “I feel pretty good about getting all that done,” or do you thank God for giving you the time, focus, and perseverance you needed to accomplish what He planned for the day?

When you’ve confronted someone and waded with them through the muck of tough relationships and situations, which do you do first: claim “I think I handled that pretty well,” or do you thank God for giving you the peace, boldness, respect and discernment you needed, knowing what you said and how you said it couldn’t have come out of your mouth had you not relied on Him?

When you feel depleted, like a failure, unable to reach the completion of anything but having all sorts of fragmented pieces scattered around you, which do you do first: try to take control by organizing and micro-managing anything you can, throw up your hands in surrender and claim you’re a failure, or cry out to God for help then take responsibility for following Him well?

Just because things go well doesn’t mean you get the credit. Just because things don’t go well doesn’t mean you’re to blame. Just because things go well doesn’t mean God is more present and more attentive. Just because things don’t go well doesn’t mean God doesn’t care, isn’t listening, or isn’t invested in your life.

It’s not that simple.

You can’t figure it all out. If you think you can, that’s pride. On the other hand, if you think you’re incapable of anything meaningful, that’s pride, too. Humility isn’t about putting yourself down. It’s about putting yourself in a proper relationship with God, acknowledging and accepting His authority.

God doesn’t define us by our accomplishments. He’s much more interested in our faith.

When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)