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Retiring Your Standby Excuses

I have known my share of false humility.

You put yourself down so that people will think you’re not prideful. You mask your insecurities by playing off any positive feedback or compliment as nothing to do with you or your abilities.

Believe me. I was a pro.

It seems that when you’ve been held in bondage to something you can easily spot it when it arises, whether in yourself or others. This false humility can sound so spiritual, but it keeps us blinded to our worth in Him and we have to make a choice eventually.

You sometimes hear it statements like, “I’m nothing without God.”

While it’s true that you wouldn’t have life without God, He gave you gifts and abilities that are completely available whether you ever knew and loved Him or not. We see it every day with people gifted in everything from business and administration to track and field. He’s just a good God.

I think the sadder reality behind the statement is what many times accompanies it. It’s this idea that “I’m just hanging on. I’m so bad, but not as bad as if I didn’t have God.”

That thinking comfortably justifies your inaction. You take no responsibility because you’re just scraping by, “by the grace of God.” You have no power and therefore, no reason to try, step out, reach out, or anything else.

It really becomes an excuse for selfishness masked as a pointing toward God.

I don’t believe everyone who says this falls into this category, but those who do, you don’t have to stay there!

There is certainly no problem contemplating where your life would be without Him. That’s healthy. Living there is a different story! Think of someone who has a close call like a car accident where they almost lose a spouse or loved one and then the rest of their lives are consumed with “I could have lost” this person until the point that they ignore the living person in favor of a haunting image of what might have been or fear of loss or desperately trying to protect. It doesn’t make sense.

Instead of dwelling so much on what you are without Him, start meditating on what you are with Him.

2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, havingescaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. –2 Peter 1:2-4

Grace is far from weak and ineffectual. You have everything provided so that you might shine in His life and godliness. You have precious promises and a new nature. These are a couple of verses of hundreds I could list.

Instead of constantly fixating on “I’m nothing without Him” maybe we could take a turn with “I’m everything with Him.” That kind of thinking produces action, kindness, leaps of faith, compassion, and more.

It worked for Jesus. When He said He did nothing apart from His Father (John 5:19), He wasn’t making an excuse on remaining distant to suffering. His pattern was clear. He went about doing good, healing all (yes, all) those oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). This is what we have access to as well!

This idea of being “nothing without Him” that keeps people from experiencing the life He has purchased for us? I believe it’s time to lay it to rest and retire its jersey. It’s been in the game far too long.

Have you ever fallen victim to the “scraping by” mentality? What keeps you from living there? If you’re stuck there, are you ready to come out of it? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

14 Comments

  1. Man what a great word today. Two thoughts that one could try to spin to mean the same thing, are completely different. One is selfish and holds us back, one sees the true potential and liberates us. I am everything with Him! Thanks Jason..
    Philip recently posted..Coffee ChatsMy Profile

    • Amazing how subtle shifts make a huge difference! Thanks so much, Philip.

  2. God in us, should not be an excuse but a empowering passionate force that propels us onward and upward.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Lessons Learned from Detours and DerailingsMy Profile

    • Amen and real relationship with Him can do nothing but that! Thanks Dusty.

  3. I think because Christ-followers are told to be humble that we work too hard to be. Does that make sense? Humility is not something we can force or pretend. I like this phrase you used: Instead of dwelling so much on what you are without Him, start meditating on what you are with Him. Well said jason.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..LoveDoesMy Profile

    • I totally understand. And you really do have people who are looking for any excuse to judge you as ‘prideful’ and it can put you on edge--unless you know who you are. That sense of destiny and who He has made you to be is a truly liberating thing! Thanks so much, Bill.

  4. Is my nose bleeding? Bold and wise words today… Your vacation is cancelled for next year buster!

    I’ve been guilty in my life of this, but as I get older I understand when it comes from pride and arrogance. In truth, I see that all things are possible with God. I believe that He can do great things through me, but I must keep watch and guard against my prideful flesh. True humility is a powerful tool for the use of God. In it there is power, but the false humility tears down the person who hides behind it…

    • Ha! Yeah, a little time away does have a way of stirring up the fires! :) And you are so right, that false humility tears down in unbelievable ways. I find that when pride comes in, God is very faithful to expose it as I leave myself vulnerable to stumbling then have the opportunity to catch my balance as I recognize Him. Good thoughts, Floyd.

      And PS, I had a dream I met you and your wife last night and stayed at your house! It was a short dream but still kinda crazy to “meet” you. :)

      • Well if you get through Phoenix we’ll have to make that dream a reality!

        • Sounds like a plan! :)

  5. Jason: I totally agree with you. We should all retire those negative phrases and we should all be happy with what God has given us. Nobody is perfect and we all go through rough times, but in the midst of it, if we look hard enough, I believe there are always signs of God goodness. Sometimes, all it takes is opening our eyes.

    Everything has been provided for me to make the best of my life. It is only up to me whether I want to think postive and take that leap of faith.

    Do you ever see Gods grace in seemly bad situations?
    William Veasley recently posted..The Pursuit of HappinessMy Profile

    • William, you’re so right. We can face the facts without being constantly down on ourselves and feeling powerless. That’s not what God’s after! And yes, in every situation I see God’s grace when I begin to look for it. It’s not a matter of how I feel, but knowing Whom I believe. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

  6. Yes sir I have no excuse no more to be who God made be to be. I notice something I never realized before. In Genesis 9 when God Blessed Noah and Sons. What did he make them ruler of God wiped everything off on the earth with the flood, with the wisdom of God Shem and his wife became rulers and created a nation that is ruling the earth !
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • He is such a good God--enabling us to do great things and be great! Thanks Andrew.