Maybe the question that I need to ask first is, who do I want to be? How do I want to answer the question, “Who am I?”
I’d like to be a fun-loving (if slightly strange) yet mature (don’t laugh) 22 year old who loves and serves his God with his heart, soul, mind, and strength. I’d like to really love and care for my friends and those around me, as Christ would. I’d like to (or at least start to) gain true wisdom. I’d like to be a responsible person, in all areas of my life. I’d like to be able to really keep my thoughts under control. I’d like to trust God fully—above my wit, intellect, or other talents. Even for finding a job in the future. I’d like to be learning what I need to be a good (someday, God willing) husband. I’d like to be respected by those around me. “Be ye holy…”
But I look at who I really am and I fall far short of that ideal. I tend to be rather moody and, well, I guess I am plenty strange. Loving God tends to be an on-again, off-again proposition. My own interests and desires often are entirely self-focused. Unselfishly love other? It’s a gift that isn’t bestowed on me nearly as often as I’d like. Wisdom is far, far away. I like to give a good impression of being responsible to those around me—but those who have gotten to know me can see the truth. My thoughts rage in my head—lust, jealously, rage, malice, and pride. I look to myself for my salvation, deeply striving to make myself perfect. I think I’ll make it through my life with my own strength and ability—hardly giving God a second thought. “Be ye holy?” I’m human—and a human with an enormous capacity for self-worship and evil, perverse thoughts, at that.
“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and “sinners”?’
“On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’” ~ Matthew 9:10-12
I don’t know about you, but I take a good, hard look at myself and I see someone who is desperately sick. I need a doctor. And it’s that very truth that is central to the Gospel—Christ has come to us, as broken, hurting, dirty, and unholy as we are, and paid the ultimate price to heal us. Christ didn’t come to be a doctor for those who’ve got their lives under control. He came to be a doctor to us—the bloody, aching, dirty, weak masses of humanity that we are.
Even though it is this very truth that’s central to Christianity, I don’t understand it. I want to be good enough. I don’t want to swallow my pride long enough to accept a gift that I have no hope of ever deserving. But I know that it’s the truth, truth that sets us free.
© 2005-2007 David and Rita Hjelle