Many years ago I thought it would be beneficial to my “spiritual progress” to occasionally issue myself a report card on my achievement and deportment. I sought to answer the question, “How am I doing?”
Generally speaking, my self assessment said I wasn’t doing well. Most of my grades were Cs and Ds, some heart-breaking Fs, a few rare Bs. Never an A. I was struggling earnestly to be a better person, to be a better Christian. It was a hard and, if I were honest, not very rewarding task.
Then one day all that changed. I suddenly realized that God had no interest whatsoever in grading my progress. If I was looking for approval from Him, it would never come. God’s only “answer” to my “how am I doing?” question was one of His own: “Who’s asking?”
Who is asking? The self-important twerp, or the Christ-centered child of God? Only the twerp would feel the need to ask. The twerp, ensnared and enslaved by the value systems of the human nature world, is congenitally unsure and in constant need of propping up. He is wed to a false sense of self, a self that thinks itself independent and capable of existing outside the consciousness of God. That self is in the process of passing away and is desperately afraid. Perhaps, if it in some way “improves,” it will somehow be saved! Its report card, no matter how dismal the grades, is its supposed ticket to salvation.
The false self can seem very humble. It is quick to proclaim, for instance, that it is not perfect. “Nobody is perfect, you know,” it says with a nudge of the elbow and a knowing wink. “Nobody can be perfect.” In fact the false self by its very nature is arrogant. It proudly defies the words of Jesus Christ, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Amazingly, no “good Christian” who professes a love for Jesus ever seems to contradict the twerpy self!
Any human being who imagines he can maintain an identity separate from God – who believes, for example, that he is an independent entity who has the power, even the right, to ignore God if he chooses – is imperfect and will remain so till death releases him. No report card of supposed progress will save him. Those who truly accept the dominion of Jesus Christ do not waste their time on earth measuring human imaginations of what perfection is. They abide in the spirit of the Almighty God, wherein is perfection.