Man is powerless. He suffers in his own strength trying to make sense of it all–how did he come into being? What gives life meaning? How does he know right from wrong? Where is he headed after he dies?
Man lacks the power to control.
Man lacks the knowledge to know.
Man lacks the compassion to be just.
Man is fickle, frail, and fragile; selfish and sinful.
“Man assumes that if there was a God, God surely wouldn’t let him suffer like this. Either there is no God, or God doesn’t like me–what is wrong with me? What am I lacking? What can I do to be accepted–to win favor and approval?
We project our own attitudes onto God. Thus, if we are hateful toward ourselves, we assume that God is also hateful. We walk in fear, angry with our lack of power and control. We are fearful of God, of man, and ourselves, ashamed of the wickedness in our own hearts.” 1
God mourns over our misconception of Him and our struggles with life. He anguishes over our reliance on self-sufficiency and our obsessive focus on self. We become broken and empty, lacking peace, security, and righteous purpose; lacking love, lacking truth.
God calls us to stop hiding and come openly to Him, but instead we put on destructive masks and create defense mechanisms and protective behaviors to survive, to preserve self in our own strength.
In time we forget that we are hiding behind masks and believe the false selves we have created are really who we are. We lose our true identities. But God loves who we really are underneath all the layers of pretense and shame. His love for us has the power to crush lies and false beliefs, setting us free from the cords of sin and the bonds of shame.
“We come out of hiding by acknowledging our utter nothingness before Him, confessing, at last, our need to depend on Him for everything. We learn to be gentle with ourselves by experiencing the intimate, heartfelt compassion of Jesus. To the extent we allow the relentless tenderness of Jesus to invade our hearts, we come to take sides with Him against our own self-evaluation.” 2
As we experience the love of God overwhelming our hearts and the truth of His Word cutting deeply into our souls, fear begins to fall from us. Our masks, false beliefs, and self-loathing come crumbling down. We are set free, and when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.
He heals our hearts, cleanses our souls, and sanctifies us in the Lord Jesus Christ. We begin to see the depth of our true condition apart from God–selfish, deceitful, and wicked. We see the magnitude of God’s mercy and grace over the course of our lives and our hearts melt. We love God because He loved us first.
What Christ means to me personally is difficult to express. I can finally breathe. I no longer have to rely on my own strength and wisdom. There is nothing more to fear, not even death. Great is the mercy of the Lord; blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. The Father has got me and He has set my feet upon the rock, Jesus Christ, and has given me a firm place to stand. While I was still a sinner Christ died for me and has given me life filled with security, value, and purpose. You are my treasure, you are my light. I love you, Jesus.