“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend (stumble) in one point, he is guilty of all.”James 2:10
I recently started a new series at Freedom That Lasts based on the book, Respectable Sins, by Jerry Bridges. We all seem to get comfortable in the sins we have excuses for. We adopt the world’s standards instead of God’s standards. We compare ourselves with other Christians and find it easy to find someone “worse” than us. The Bible calls this foolishness in II Corinthians 10:12, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number (classify ourselves), or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” I am sure some have compared themselves to me and have felt good about themselves, just as I have foolishly done that with others.
I always wanted a son, and God gave me just that. Nate came into this world at a whopping 9lbs, 2oz. He was a massive baby and unlike anyone we could recall in either of our family trees. I thought I would have a basketball or football star on my hands, and was excited about the possibility of this.
I used to play a video game called NCAA Football and it gave you the option of creating your own player. I created a defensive end and named him after my son, Nathaniel Mendez. He was 6’ 5” and 290 lbs. I created him with speed, power, and a motor that did not stop. (I am sure my son is disappointed that he did not quite reach this height or physical prowess.) I do not know how I thought that would happen, but I guess I was hoping for the best for my son when I created this imaginary player named after him.
Nate did not turn out to be 6’ 5”, although there is a slim chance he could still grow. He is around 5’ 9”, but one thing I know is that he is taller than me. He often reminds me about his height dominance over me, but it is no great feat to surpass someone who is 5’ 5”. My son can feel good about his height when comparing himself to me, but I am not the height standard. When he is quick to say he is taller than me, I always tell him that is nothing to brag about. My son recently played a basketball team who had a 6’ 7” center, so Nate’s 5’ 9” did not seem so big anymore.
At times we may think we are spiritual giants, but that is only because we are using our standard instead of God’s standard. We feel like we are not committing the “big” sins, but only the ones that are “respectable”. We get comfortable with sin and we do not see it for what it really is. There are not “white lies” or “small lies”, but they are all lies and they are all sin. God’s standard is one that is holy and without any sin, and it gives no excuse for what we deem as “respectable” sin. We either hit the mark or we don’t – there is no variance or credit for being close. God’s standard is perfection and that is the mark we need to strive for.
Where are you today friend? Are you caught up comparing yourself to others? Which standard are you using when judging yourself? God says that if we offend His law in one area, then we are guilty of all. May we not foolishly compare ourselves among ourselves, but may we instead compare ourselves with God’s holy standard. We will always find someone worse than us, but we will always find sin when we draw close to the Light. May our prayer be as the tax collector as he cried out in Luke 18:13 “And the publican (tax collector), standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” May God have mercy on us sinners.