I am the best Pharisee in the room.
God help me.
It’s not a small problem.
You might think it impossible for a kind, personable, and generous person to be a Pharisee. In reality, it’s very possible. He wrote this blog.
I call myself a Pharisee because I am obsessed with my performance and how I stack up against everyone else. I constantly evaluate myself and others based on things like intelligence, accomplishments, and clothes. I easily fall into the trap of thinking I can find worth in being ‘better’ at those things.
I know in my head that we’re all precious in God’s sight. That mental knowledge is overwhelmed by my broken heart’s powerful need to find worth. This need is so strong it has the power to hijack my times of service and turn them into a competition with others.
I’m so focused on performance that I constantly rate all the people I see. You may think that means I rate the people close to me. No, that means I rate every person I see for longer than a second.
Cat’s out of the bag now. I hope that confession doesn’t lower my street cred. I’ll give you a second to soak up the irony of that last sentence.
It Feels More Like a Plank Than a Speck
Here’s an example of how bad my performance perspective is. If I was at church and they announced my name because I won the award for Best Pharisee, I would probably stand up just because I heard my name and the word ‘best’ in the same sentence. That’s all it would take.
I told you it wasn’t a small problem.
I’m a terrible person.
Without God, I’m really in trouble.
I don’t just mean that without God I would go to hell. That’s true. It’s also true that without God I would be a complete slave to my performance perspective for the rest of my life.
Thankfully, that’s not true. Like every other problem, He’s got an answer and it isn’t just a modification of my behavior. It’s a heart change.
This heart change gets to the bottom of the problem and deals with the source of my need to perform.
The Greatest Price
I feel the need to perform and earn success because I doubt my worth. On a day to day basis, I don’t believe that I am worthwhile. Thankfully, God has an ABSOLUTE solution to that problem.
He gives me the value of His love. He invites me into His family. He gives me a place in the highest court.
I look to things like success and popularity for value because I assume I need more value and they will help with that. Both of those assumptions are wrong. God already hung a pretty hefty price tag around my neck.
I cost the life of a God. I am worth the sacrifice of an only Son. My price tag reads ‘The Greatest Love Man Has Ever Known’.
Trying to add value to that price tag is like giving Bill Gates a quarter to help increase his financial net worth. Last year, Gates made 9 billion dollars. That quarter is somewhere between an annoyance and an insult.
The same can be said about the success and clothes that I think will add to my worth. Those things are like drops in an ocean. Putting ANY of my value in them is at best a distraction and at worst an insult to the love that already gives me unthinkable worth.
How the Broken Becomes Beautiful
I can’t always keep this truth in my mind. I constantly lose my focus and look back to the things of this world that I think will give me worth. I need consistent reminders in many different shapes and sizes that God gives real worth and that I can have it today.
Doubting my self worth is definitely not a small problem. It poisons my heart and dramatically affects my life. Thankfully, God is always ready and waiting to help.
He takes my broken heart and makes it beautiful. He turns the best Pharisee into a humbled man filled to the brim with joy. Only He has the power to do this and whenever I lose focus on Him, I turn back into that Pharisee.
I need Him. Every second, I need Him. He is the beginning of all my genuine my worth, joy, and peace.
Image Copyright: Agne 27 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trophies_at_2008_Michigan_Wine_%26_Spirits_Competition.jpgby