There is a detrimental aspect to the ‘self-help, self-improvement’ movement is that your personal value cannot exceed what you are capable of coming up with; it all stops with you. Its like swimming in concrete. I agree we need a proper value of ourselves, need to improve, and self-value. I suppose the issue it the datum. If you are like me, you are fickle. We just can’t control our ‘want-to’ enough to call that kind of will free as much as we would like.
The issue is not so much our inability to achieve the value we would like to be, it is more about the inability to admit we can’t get there. I think the danger of being a ‘hypocrisy’ in Christianity is not that we are not honest it is that we are not honest enough. As much as we’d like to say we’ve arrived the more the datum is in God the more we realize just how far an inch is equal to a mile.
But if we were honest…
To say ‘I need help’ in many ways is more of a ‘I need help till I get to what I can do then I have it from here’ perspective. I love (am learning to love) the beatitudes more because I am starting to take them more seriously. I do not think Jesus was saying ‘blessed are the poor’ in order to say ‘be poor so I can teach you how to be rich…then go be rich…travel well and stay warm.’ I think He meant blessed (congratulations) to the poor, the desperately lost, deprived. Because they understand that they have nothing. The desperately lacking, inadequate understand that nothing they do is sufficient. It does not negate the necessity, it negates the capability. You see Paul wanting to fulfill the law in Romans 7 and incapable of doing it and the question is why? Pharisees wrote all the extra laws why couldn’t they? Because we lack not just something but everything necessary to do so.
Self-help best found when we arrive at the conclusion in its intirety. As long as you have some want-to within, you will try to fix-it. We are not so far away from the world view where we let go of the ‘i’m am sombody’ perspective and “i will fight it” and “i can win this” mentality. Not necessarily wrong the issue is there are too many ‘I’s” there. But the utterly lacking have reconciled that because there is no capability within themselves then need not look in themselves anymore. They need a new datum.
Jesus is fairest above all and adequate when you are through with trying to be. The Gospel comes full circle. If He was adequate and sufficient; fairest above all to ‘accept’ and ‘give your life to’ as Lord (insert irony) then why would He not be for your passions, desires, hopes, dreams, concerns, loves, losts, and your perspective of others?
I have not arrived at all the implications of this, but what I have found is at least I can see the areas of my life where He shows me that He is not fairest because there are character traits missing. I lack:
1. Hope: I don’t long for the right things. Like Richard Baxter says I do not delight in the eternal things that God delights in.
2. Hear: I am not heard. There is a boldness that is missing. Wherever he is fairest removes any shame and my history is a distant nothing to His(story).
3. Help: I have no sense of help. You see this play out in two ways. I am the ‘fix it’ type. Can stand watching things fail so I just jump in and ‘fix-it.’ And fixing it my way. The other type is the passive aggressive ‘oh well’ mentality. There is no help so there is nothing left to do but complain about it, or worse blame others or one’s self for it. But when Jesus is sufficient for all things the best part is recognizing that He is still providing what is necessary even when you have concluding He is not or you do not deserve it.
4. Hue: I lack the right countenance…in spite of. But when he is fairest there is a new countenance to me. I like the movie Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne is an innocent man in prison for life and he walks around like he was on the beach. Something shines differently from you when you do not have to worry about being somebody. You have a hue that does not come from you. He is innocent and we are in Him. Now smile with your life.
When God is fairest. When the Gospel becomes everything, you have not just accepted the only one sufficient for paying the penalty for sin but He become everything. It means your life has been redefined and redefined forever.