Self Validation

I am involved with a program to help WV UMC pastors be more active.  I have a pedometer and I can actually receive up to $160 a year tracking my steps.  The other day I entered a walking challenge thinking I would get some extra points.  I did not know how it worked.  I received an email that said I was the winner!!!!  I finished #1!!! (My first name is Paul).  There was a link to check the leaderboard.  It turned out that not only did I finish first, but I also finished last.  I was the only one in the challenge.  It is a good feeling to win.  But we must ask ourselves what we have really won.  What was the criteria?  Who was the judge?  What was the prize?  I obviously do not understand how it was supposed to work.

Many in our society go through life looking for validation.  We want to be told we are awesome, that there is nothing wrong with us, and that we do not need to change.  There was a great line I shared the other day from Catherine Marshall’s book The Helper.  It said that even the church is guilty of this.  She claimed that all great outpourings of God’s Spirit and power begin with our repentance. And she said since most of the church meets the call to repent with bitter hostility, God is unwilling to do great works through the church today.

The truth is when we humble ourselves and admit our need, when we confess our sins to God and ask Him to forgive our sins through the shed blood of Jesus, that is when we are validated.  That is when we are victorious.  Anything other than this is like the challenge I entered.  You may get an email telling you you are a winner, but it is really a worthless, “feel good” pat on the back that gains you nothing.

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