by Mike Ratliff
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV)
There are two extremes that Christians must avoid at all costs. The first is over confidence in one’s own ability, which is pride in its positive form. This causes believers to rely on their own abilities to do “good works.” The other extreme is to become paralyzed into inactivity because of pride working in its negative form. It tries to resemble humility by proclaiming things such as, “I’m not sanctified enough to do that sort of work.” Both are attitudes of pride and are in rebellion against God.
When clouds of darkness, atheism, and unbelief come to me,
I see thy purpose of love
in withdrawing the Spirit that I might prize him more.
in chastening me for my confidence in past successes,
that my wound of secret godlessness might be cured.
Help me to humble myself before thee
by seeing the vanity of honor as a conceit of men’s minds,
a standing between me and thee;
by seeing that thy will must alone be done,
as much in denying as in giving spiritual enjoyments;
by seeing that my heart is nothing but evil,
mind, mouth, life void of thee;
by seeing that sin and Satan are allowed power in me
that I might know my sin, be humbled,
and gain strength thereby;
by seeing that unbelief shuts thee from me,
so that I sense not thy majesty, power, mercy, or love.
Then posses me, for thou only art good and worthy.
Thou dost not play in convincing me of sin,
Satan did not play in tempting me to it,
I do not play when I sink in deep mire,
For sin is no game, no toy, no bauble;
Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin
lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed,
as in the greatness of the person sinned against.
When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me, by showing me
that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch,
but that in Christ I am reconciled, made alive, and satisfied;
that I am feeble and unable to do all things;
but that in him I can do all things;
that what I now have in Christ is mine in part,
but that shortly I shall have it perfectly in heaven.
From: The Valley of Vision – A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions