Friday, July 18, 2008

So far am I from the perfection of God

It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity.... So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity.
~ John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Hubble's image of part of the Eagle Nebula
~ 41,147,200,349,956,260 miles from earth


God, you are unbelievably, unfathomably awesome. So often, I am tempted to think of myself as something special, someone who deserves good things because of my own merit. I am tempted, by my own sinful nature, to compare myself to others and ignore you. And when I compare myself to others, I excuse my own faults and amplify theirs. I look for cause to blame others and celebrate myself. I am tempted to think of myself as something decent, even good. I seek to promote myself. But, when I give any thought to you, I can see that I am, on my own, insignificant and hollow.

You, God, are great beyond compare and everything pales in relation to you. Except that you reached out your hand to me and chose me for your care and attention. You gave me significance when you adopted me into your holy family and promised me a glorious inheritance. You saw me in my complete sin and rebellion, and you saved me by your grace and for your glory. And you deserve every bit of the glory. Only you could save me and I owe everything to you, my creator and sustainer, my father in heaven.

Father, help me to always keep my focus on you. Help me resist the temptation to see myself only in flattering terms and promote myself to the level of a god. Show me how to look beyond this earth and see you, your majesty and power, your faithfulness and wisdom, your justice and compassion, your love and your mercy. Help me know the reality that I would be hopelessly lost without you, and help me live in constant thankfulness for the gifts you continually give me.

I come to you and I praise you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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