“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”Isaiah 64:6-8
I grew up in a home where you had to really earn compliments, If you did something good, it was simply expected, much like waking up and getting out of bed. You were not something special just doing what you were supposed to do. My report card never made the fridge as it was more full of D’s then B’s. I did not do a whole lot to merit a pat on the back, but when I did do something I thought merited praise, I was the only who thought so.
I remember playing sports as a kid, and I would come out of the locker room and instantly look for my parents. If I spotted them in the stands, I would try to play extra hard to make an impression. My mom was usually there, and I knew I could make an impression on her, but my dad was another story. Even when I thought I made some good plays during the game, he was not impressed. He would point out my errors and try to coach me up after the game. He had a desire for me to get better, and I had a desire to get a pat on the back. My dad is not easily impressed, and I knew I had to be exceptional to garner the praise I wanted.
In our world today, we are often praised and given awards for simply participating. We live in a society where everyone “wins” and there are no losers. Our world believes there are no absolutes and it is okay to claim your own “truth”. The wrong thinking of today leads us to be okay with our sin and not see it as God sees it. The truth is pushed aside and our conscience is severed from God’s truth. We think of our “righteousness” as something to be praised and lauded, and we often revel in and boast about the” good” we do. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We tend to boast when we think we are doing good, but it is only by His righteousness that we are made whole.
Do you see your righteousness as filthy rags, or do you pat yourself on the back because you deem yourself spiritual? Will you see your righteousness as God does? May we not be puffed up about our spirituality, but may we be like the publican who bowed his head in humility. Will you allow Him to be the Potter in your life? Will you realize that He is the Potter no matter our decision? May we not forget that it is easier to mold wet clay than have to break that which is hardened.