If I count myself more, behold Thou standest against me, and my iniquities bear true testimony, and I cannot gainsay it. But if I abase myself, and bring myself to nought, and shrink from all self-esteem, and grind myself to dust, which I am, Thy grace will be favorable unto me, and Thy light will be near unto my heart …
Thy bountiful and infinite goodness never ceaseth to do good even to ingrates and to those who are turned far from Thee. Turn Thou us unto Thyself, that we may be grateful, humble, and godly, for Thou art our salvation, our courage, and our strength.
(The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis, The First Book, page 62-63)
Two short paragraphs can pack a wallop and provoke thoughts all day long. Such was the case when I read the above words.
Only in His Presence are we able to see ourselves as we truly are; we are enabled to see our sin and yet are not hopeless. “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous” (Romans 3:22-24, NLT). He declares us righteous, not because He must, but because He chose to give us His favor through His Son.
In loving Him, we lose ourselves and gain more that we could ever dare, hope, or ask. “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Matthew 16:25, NLT). It is as we relinquish control, giving ourselves to radical abandon that we ultimately gain. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).
We have done nothing to merit all that He gives to us. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 3:8-9, NLT). Only God can keep us grateful, humble, and godly in this world which constantly tempts us to be ungrateful, proud, and of the world.
We must lose ourselves to gain all.
May we constantly come to Him –
“For Thou art our salvation, our courage, and our strength.”