by El LaGrew, minister of the Gospel, consultant to rural churches, incurable optimist.
Every once in awhile God lays a smack-down on your head. He did it to me recently when I was asked to guest blog for a friend. I was successful, but because the experience reminded me of my shortcomings…my flaws.
Of course, God already knows all of our flaws, but if we are not aware of them or refuse to acknowledge them, how can we address them? I think we should all inventory our flaws. We assess our Spiritual gifts. Why not list the less savory parts of our lives as well?
Below is a partial list of my flaws. For the complete version, see my wife, who knows me much better that I care to admit.
Judgmentalism. Believe it when I tell you I am much better right now than I was 30 years ago. When I first became a Christian I was legalistic, and didn’t see that my judgmental attitude was the opposite of God’s desire for me. Fortunately God showed me the way, and His way is always best. He showed me what Love was all about. His answer to my judgmentalism was Love. Not just any Love—His Love. If you Love like the Lord, there is no room for thinking that you are better than everyone else.
Anger. I was an angry person. Seriously. I thought I had been treated unfairly. I did not have a happy childhood. I blamed my Dad for much of that. From my point of view, he was harsh, old-fashioned and mean. I did not like him much. The Lord’s answer for that was—joy. Joy of being alive. Joy that He saved me. Joy that He loved me. When the Joy of the Lord is filling you, there is absolutely no room for anger.
Doubt. I don’t know about you but sometimes I have doubt. Many people who know me think otherwise, but I cover it up pretty well. The Lord has a perfect answer—peace. By giving me peace, He gives me confidence, I don’t have to worry about being inadequate. He has promised to be with me and to give me the words to say. All I have to do is trust him.
Narrow-mindedness. This one is very related to being judgemental and stubborn…but it has a twist. Blinders which prevent you from seeing anything else. When I have a goal in mind, I plow ahead. Sometimes I run over people because I do not see how I am hurting them This is where narrow-mindedness is the most destructive with relationships around you. To counteract this God has given me patience. With this patience I can wait until God opens the doors and the timing is right.
Stubbornness. Much like the previous flaws, this flaw is self-evident. If you are narrow-minded, you are almost certain to be stubborn as well. God has shown me that kindness is the way to balance out stubbornness. Think about it…or are you too stubborn to listen?
Arrogance. ”I am not arrogant. Arrogance is a fault and I don’t have any of those.” It’s that kind of hubris that dooms many people to a life of pain and sadness. He has given me His goodness. If I have that, arrogance flees. I have no reason to think of myself more highly than I ought.
Self-righteousness. This one goes hand in hand with Legalism and narrow-mindedness. It is one of the most self-destructive flaws anyone could have and it gives God a real chance to use the gift of faithfulness. Most self-righteous people do not want any friends. In fact by their attitudes they push them all away. But you cannot push God away. He is always faithful.
Harshness. It is natural to be harsh: to believe you are right all the time and can never make a mistake. God counters with gentleness. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1 a). He turns the wrath aside and it breaks you.
Procrastination. It’s the tendency to put off important tasks till the last minute. For me, these tasks could be from anyone, God, other people, even myself. The tasks get done—well mostly—but not exactly at opportune times. When I procrastinate, God shows me Self-control. Never put off till tomorrow what God has told you to do today.
Do you see any of yourself in the few flaws I’ve mentioned about myself? If you put all of the counter-traits together, you have Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The Bible has answers for whatever is holding us back from a closer relationship with Him. Read the Bible—meditate on the Words—they are the words of Life!