It hit me late in the sermon Sunday morning. Every time I've heard the call to give all of yourself, I specifically hold part of me back. Which part do I hold back? Generally it's the part of me that wants to do it myself. It's the old fallacy of "at least I'm better than so and so" or as my pastor put it, thinking that true repentance is just a morality tune up (as in, well I've been pretty bad at treating my kids with love lately, so I'll commit to doing better). We think that what we've achieved morally on our own is somehow comparable in the eyes of God. Yet, we dare to tell the Creator of the Universe that we can do okay on our own?
I remind myself of my just turned 2 year old. If you have kids, you know they go through stages of "I do it myself". This is a natural and healthy part of child psychology, however frustrating it may be for the parents. When I try to help him into his car seat he screams, so he tries on his own and slips and falls. When I try to help him click in the safety belt, he screams, so I let him fumble with it for a few minutes before doing the parts he really can't do himself. The last clip, which he can do, he proudly hollers "My part" before doing it himself.
In America, we've been brought up on a steady diet of "my part". We encourage individual excellence, individual academia, individual finances, individual success.
We are proud of our accomplishments, and rightly so. But we still can't save ourselves. We are inherently broken, inherently sinners, inherently prideful. That part of me that I've been holding on to so dearly, I wanted to give it up to God through my own power. But I can't even do that. I have to rely on the grace and patience and perfect holiness of a God that is a much more patient parent than I am. So after resting and thinking most of the day Sunday, I realized that it is harder than a camel to go through the eye of a needle, because it's impossible for us to do ourselves. But we have a God who can raise the dead and create a world as beautiful as this. I think I can trust him to finish what He's started in me.