December 12, 2017

Seeing Self

George Stiekes

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am unclean; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 6:5

In the first century B.C., Narcissus sees himself in a pool of water and falls in love with himself. The Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for 2013 was “selfie.” It is an informal noun defined as a self-photograph taken with a smartphone or webcam and then uploaded to a social media website. For some, selfies are a nice form of communication between friends and loved ones far apart. Young people find it to be loads of fun. Then there are some who tend to become narcissistic — self-absorbed, admiring, and egotistic. It is just another fad of our humanistic society made possible through technology.

What do you see when you see yourself? We are all familiar with what Isaiah saw when he caught a glimpse of the glory of God in Isaiah 6. When he saw himself, he said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips.” When he looked around, he saw people just like himself. “…and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah saw himself like God saw him.

We are all familiar with Job’s experience, but the end of it all is that he finally saw himself as God saw him. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).

Both Isaiah and Job saw themselves only after seeing something of God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). This refers to having a right or correct estimate of self, leading to humility. This is what happened to both Isaiah and Job. Matthew 5:4 reads, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” This is seeing and treating sin as God sees it. Both Job and Isaiah, in humility, had a sincere sorrow for sin.

After seeing himself, Isaiah saw the nation around him, something we should do here in America. We will never pray effectively for our nation until we see it as God sees it. There are millions of people in America that are hopelessly lost and they do not even realize it and they will not unless they begin to see themselves as God sees them.

There is another matter we need to recognize in this. There are times when we, as believers, forget that we are still sinners — saved sinners, but still sinners. There are no perfect people in this world. You do not have to bother looking for any. There are no perfect pastors and no perfect churches. Do not waste your time looking for one. We should all be in a state of growing or maturing towards perfection but none of us will achieve that status until we get to Heaven (I John 3:1-3). Part of being able to grow is to continue seeing ourselves as God sees us.

Thank God today for His grace, love and mercy in redeeming us, knowing full well who and what we are. Wonderful Grace of Jesus!

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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