One of the things that I try and constantly remind myself is that I am a depraved, sinful woman, desperately in need of the Cross. Am I redeemed? Yes, and for that I give much victory to Jesus. Because before Christ, I was "dead in the trespasses of sins." (Eph. 2:1)
Not able to 'pick myself up by my boot straps;' not able to do lots of good things. I was dead.
After you walk with Christ for awhile, you forget that you were once dead. You begin to feel like you have a grasp on this thing called 'Christianity'. Honestly, there are days that I take much credit for good responses to my children, a good time of Bible study in the morning, getting to minister to my neighbors, etc. I think, 'wow, I did a great job today.' It's easy to just say "oh, I have a prideful heart." But as I've been meditating on this, if we don't see ourselves as depraved and desperate, apart from the cross, there are several things that can happen (this list is not exhaustive for sure).
1. You will not want to forgive. "If you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions" Mt. 6:15
"What gives so much force to the impulse of anger in such cases is the overwhelming sense that the offender does not deserve forgiveness." -"Faith in Future Grace"
As if whatever that person has done or said is more heinous that any of the sins I have committed in my head. And besides the fact that a lot of the time that I feel someone is beyond my forgiveness, it is directed towards non-believers who are still "enemies of God."
2. I will gossip and put down those around me. Why? Because I only see the righteous in myself and the unrighteous in others. If I am reminded of the failings in my own heart, I will be slow to judgement and quick to distribute grace to those around me.
3. I will continue in my anger and impatience. When I see Christians floundering in their faith. When I see these students that I worked with in youth ministry now living lives of complete abandonment. When I hear of women getting assaulted and beaten inside theirs homes. And even things as trivial as getting cut in front of in line...again! It is in these times that I grow even more angry and impatient. Is some of this righteous anger? Probably. But some of it is also anger that wants revenge. I feel the need to 'go New England' on people. (that is my affectionate term for wanting to beat the snot out of someone instead of letting the Holy Spirit settle things). I need to remember that there have been times where I have looked away from the Lord. I've allowed doubt to guide my path.
4. I will forget to long for heaven. If I feel like my life is plugging onlong quite nicely here on earth, I will forget that my real home is in heaven. I will invest my time in trivial things. I will be too concerned with my reputation. I will put my time and energies into things that will perish. If I remind myself of my depravity, I remind my self of the cross. And in the cross is hope . Hope that will be fulfilled when I get to see Jesus eye to eye.
I think there are a million others. But I'll leave it at that for now.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."