Ravi Zacharias says there are three of each of us: There is who the world thinks we are, who we think we are, and who Gods knows us to be. I am so grateful for that last one—who God knows me to be.
One of the quickest ways for me to fall flat on my face is to state with all boldness and certainty I will never do a particular thing. That thing might by to repeat a past mistake, it may be some way I’ve seen another fail, or it may be some wrong behavior I know can happen but cannot imagine myself ever doing.
As my life has unfolded, I’ve worked to keep my mouth tightly closed about the nevers of life, for I identify with Paul in Romans 7:18-19: For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
Throughout life, I have by nature been a survivor. I’ve worked hard and long hours to get whatever needed to be done, done. As an adult in my 40’s, I had to put my survivor skills into action and through that time, I came to believe I could do just about anything if I had to do it, and if there was enough fire burning inside me to get it done. I also learned that I was a perfectionist and it took a while to recognize that wasn’t a good thing but a very unhealthy way to go about life. However, it was the discipline of that trait that helped me move from survivor to one who accomplished well.
But none of that matters when it comes to living in the Lord’s strength. I can determine whatever I want to determine but if the Lord is not the one who guides and supplies, all will crumble about me. I hear Paul’s struggle with right and wrong and identify with his frustration and self-disappointment.
I have learned to do this: When someone else judges me, I ask myself who I am judging. When I hear about someone else’s mistake that I think I could never do, I say there but for the grace of God go I. When I do a wrong—or repeat one—I thank God that He knows me in a way that I do not even know myself and that is the me He loves.