“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” — Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)
Sometimes doing a look back into your life can lead to some stuff that shoulda been an alarm going off about heading in the wrong direction. I once said to me-self, “Shiny cars and dirty money, lotsa rock and roll, I will live in fame and die in flames, I’m never getting old” but as 60 hangs over my head (along with aches and pains that come with it), I’m definitely moshing to a different tune these days. However, the one thing I need to be careful about “these days” is comparing myself to others or even, dare I say, trying to finding rest in which one of God’s precepts I haven’t gotten around to violating…yet.
For all you “This is Spinal Tap” movie fans out there you’ll remember the scene where Marty Di Bergi and Nigel Tufnel discuss Nigel’s guitar amps that go to 11. Marty’s position is why not go with the status qou and leave his amp settings at 10, but Nigel, who says he more interested in that extra push over the cliff, after declaring that other blokes can only go to ten then nowhere else, he can go to 11…one louder. It may not make him a better guitarist but, what the hey, at least he’s one louder, right? Hmm…
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” — Luke 18:10-14
Allow me to make a tiny confession, I struggle with the above passage. Sometimes I’ll utter “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” in my heart and I’ll get all crazy seeing that word “exalted” after “humbles himself” in the same sentence. I so wanna be recognized as THE guy Jesus Christ saved from the highway to hell that he stupidly chose to drive on, but I also wanna have the heart that genuinely bows in humility and of adoration to the One that has granted him grace and mercy. Unfortunately, I behave as if I’m the tax collector, in this passage, who carries around a guitar amp that can to go 11. What a wretched man I am, who can save me from this body of death? I’ll get to that. Anyway…
Ya know, citizens of Secularland may not have this kinda vexation going on with them. It seems easy for them to say, “At least I ain’t like this guy or that guy. At least I haven’t killed anyone or stolen from anyone yet. At least my guitar amp goes to 11.” It’s as if they’re finding their humility in what they haven’t done yet and wanna be recognize as a good person for it. They might be able to write an interesting song about that position but if we were to run this thought through the entirety of Scripture, both Testaments, we may have to take what my boy Matt Henry says about comparisons into consideration. “The Jews could not be justified by the Law of Moses any more than the Gentiles by the law of nature.” Alrighty Then!!
In the 2nd chapter of Romans Paul is just relentlessly hammering out what Matthew Henry is saying. “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judges others do those very same things.” (Romans 2:1 NLT) And if Stephanus didn’t divide the N.T. into verses in 1555, we would see Paul’s rant ends with, “For there is no partiality with God.” (Romans 2:11 NKJV) So, there’s that.
My guitar amps really don’t go to 11 and I really don’t need to be one louder anyway, that gets tiring. Jesus Christ saved me from a way that was leading me to death and the thorn to the flesh in this is that I chose that road and Jesus saved me anyway. So, as I look into the rearview mirror and notice the grey in my getting long hair, I reflect and mediate on this, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) In this, may you too find rest. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, who has an education in Biblical Doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy 2003. He also has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail him at email@example.com