While I don’t think I’ve been unfair or uncharitable (I hope), I have not yet taken an opportunity to confess my own weakness and imperfection. In fact, the word “imperfection” hardly does me justice. To say that I am “imperfect” seems to me to suggest that I might be close to perfection, but I’m just missing one or two pieces of the perfection puzzle, in much the same way that if I say my fantasy football team is “incomplete,” you would probably assume that all I need is just one more top-tier running back (which is, in fact, the case), and then my team would be complete. You probably wouldn’t assume that it is “incomplete” in the sense that I have only two players on my roster and that they’re both awful.
That’s not the case with my imperfection at all, nor is it consistent with the way I understand and view myself in terms of perfection. To say that I am massively imperfect is to make a massive understatement.
So, in a spirit of humility, and by way of encouraging the same in you, I’d like to include here an excerpt from one of the most useful books I’ve ever read, C.J. Mahaney’s, Humility: True Greatness:
“To be serious and deliberate in mortifying pride and cultivating greatness, you must each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died. ‘Fill your affections with the cross of Christ,’ wrote John Owen, ‘that there may be no room for sin.’ And that includes no room for pride. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote the following about the surest way to pursue humility:
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Nothing else can do it. When I see that I am a sinner…that nothing but the Son of God on the cross can save me, I’m humbled to the dust. … Nothing but the cross can give us this spirit of humility.’
John Stott helps us understand why the cross has this powerful effect:
‘Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in the history of the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.’
…The cross never flatters us.”