No, this is not a morbid walk into the intricacies of my deceived, depraved heart. As John Donne said much better than me,
“Poor intricated soul! Riddling, perplexed, labyrinthical soul!”
The inter-maze of my heart is daunting and depressing for sure. And I am self-deceived, YES! However, I do have enough awareness—by the grace of God—about the doctrine of man and the doctrine of sin to know and balance somewhat suspiciously the futility and dangers of introspection to the biblical necessity of introspection. In short, I am exhorted by Scripture to look, but not linger. For every one look I take at my sin I want to take 10 looks to the cross. This is merely a feeble attempt to take one look.
In addition, as I read Ephesians 4:22 I must be aware of what to “put off” in order to, … well, put off the old man. I cannot put off the old man if I do not know what to put off. If I must take out the trash then I need to know I where the trash is. I cannot take out something that I either do not know what it is to take out or, even worse, where it is. I must know both the what and the where.
Fortunately, I do not have to think too long about the “where” question. I need to put off the sin that is in my heart! My heart is where my treasure is. But the “what” question can be a bit tricky. Therefore, through prayer, counsel and personal reflection my goal is to change by the grace of God, to mortify the deeds of the body, for the purpose of glorifying God in my sanctification.
With this pursuit in mind I have sought, prayed, asked and reflected in an attempt to attack my pride, turn and glorify. What I have in these confessions is my personal, well-cultivated sin list. As Gollum would say, “This is my precious”, the things that are near and dear to my heart. And, unfortunately, my “precious” is in the plural. I’ve never been too loyal to one idol. I enjoy and pursue many idols of the heart.
But praise be to God. There is a solution to all of this and it is found on a hill. Once I find the trash I will have the joyful and grace-filled privilege of taking my trash to that hill for proper disposal.
Self-righteousness—Here is a foundational sin in my heart. It is simply me having a higher view of myself than God is pleased with, which works out with me being tempted (and sometimes yielding to the temptation) to compare myself to others. This foundational sin when yielded to leads to condescension and arrogant attitudes toward folks or even worse because of this great love I have for myself I can live out biblical hatred in the sense that I either don’t serve other folks or I’m so hardened by this sin that I have diminished sensitivities to the Spirit moving me to serve others. What I mean by this last statement is that my sin has diminished my spiritual “radar” so to speak to the point where I can’t sense how to serve others.
How do I know when I’m sinning with self-righteousness? Here are some indicators:
- I’m not kind or loving toward others.
- I’m critical and/or gossip about others.
- I do not serve others.
- I am demanding of others.
- I’m quicker to think of the sins of others than my own.
- I’m judgmental.
- I’m selfish and will posture or manipulate the situation for my own good before the good of others.
- My desires and hopes come before others because of my high view of self.
- I can become angry quickly.
- I can become impatient quickly.
- I am tempted to not think the best about others, about situations and/or about God because my first thought is about myself, what is best for me from my sinful perspective.
- And worst of all my conscience can become so hardened by the sin of self-righteousness that I live some sort of deserving mindset and lifestyle. This is self-deception.
Solution: The Gospel!!
Off to the hill I go…