Imagine a young boy, dissatisfied with the fact that he’s still not big enough to play in the NBA. A clever idea strikes him, and he gets out his dad’s tape measure, grabs a Sharpie, and gets to work re-labeling. Once his little project is complete he measures himself and voila, he is no long 4’2”, he’s now 6’7”.
Now, we all can see that just because he changed the numbers on the tape measure doesn’t mean he actually changed in height. Likewise, growing in godliness is not a matter of measuring ourselves by our own measuring stick. Using your own system of measuring holiness can go one of two disastrous ways. Either you will be continually discouraged that you’re not more like Christ, or you will be puffed up with self-righteous pride.
But in both instances the problem is found in measuring yourself against yourself. Instead, you must learn to fix your eyes upon Christ. In doing so a few things take place. You stop trying to adjust the scale to make your sins less severe than others’ sins. You let Christ’s Word say precisely what your sin is. You stop making up fake sins to feel guilty for, and you start repenting for sins you actually are guilty for. You begin to see that what you see as your best attributes, the Word reveals how such things have become a place for you to hide your ugliest iniquities.
If you would grow in godliness, it won’t arise from any other source than Christ Himself. You must be rooted in Christ’s redeeming grace, in order to make any progress in sanctifying grace. As you prepare to look at your own heart, remember to measure by the eyes of faith using the Word, not with some custom made measuring stick of morality.
We are often blind to what we should see clearly, and we think we see clearly what we are actually blind to. By looking to Christ we can see both things clearly, in the light of the Word. Growth in grace will lead us to see where we are overlooking faults we really should confess, and the ways we twist ourselves in knots over things we’ve exaggerated. By God’s great grace, may we come to see aright. May we not glory in our shame. Rather, may we glory in the cross alone, through which the world is crucified to us and we unto the world.