Summary: When you look into a mirror what do you see? How do you see yourself? How do you see yourself in relation to God and eternity? Having a right view of who and what we are is essential to a right relationship with God.
“How Do You See Yourself?”
When you look into a mirror what do you see? How do you see yourself? Few of us look in the mirror and come to the conclusion of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath. During his heyday as a player, Namath wrote a book titled I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow...’Cause I Get Better-Looking Every Day. One survey revealed that more than half of us want to alter our tonnage. Another 32% want to doctor our bodies, age, or intelligence. A fifth of us would love to change our height or hair. 13% of American women consider themselves pretty. 28% of American men think themselves handsome.
But more importantly, how do you see yourself in relation to God and eternity? Two men a Pharisee and a Publican approach God in prayer. How they approach God is based on how they see themselves. One sees himself using the standards of the world. The other sees himself as God sees him. A right view of who and what we are is essential to a right relationship with God.
I. How Man sees himself
A. Luke 13:11-12 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”
B. The Pharisee does three things:
1. He says he’s satisfied with the way he is. He feels he is ok.
2. Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.”
3. He compares himself to others. His attitude is - I am not as bad as other people I know. There are a lot of church people who do a lot worse things than I do. I think God would have to say even though I’m not perfect I’m still ok.
4. Quite often self-righteous people tend to justify themselves by blaming or deflecting to others. Self-righteous people believe that they can be good enough in ourselves to qualify for heaven.
5. They may even believe as Anne Frank who while in hiding from the Nazis in Holland wrote on the pages of her famous diary, “in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
6. Proverbs 20:6a “Most men will proclaim everyone his own goodness.
7. He points to his “good” works.
8. Matthew 19:16 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
9. During an edition of the news program 60 Minutes, Dan Rather interviewed Jack Welch, the outspoken former CEO of General Electric. At the end of the interview, Rather asked Welch, “What’s the toughest question you have ever been asked?” Welch replied, “Do you think you’ll go to Heaven?” When asked how he had answered that question, Welch said, “It’s a long answer, but I said that if caring about people, if giving it your all, if being a great friend counts—despite the fact that I’ve been divorced a couple of times, and no one’s proud of that. I haven’t done everything right all the time. I think I got a shot. I’m in no hurry to get there and to find out any time soon.”
C. Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (ESV - Don’t think you are better than you really are), but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
II. How God sees man
A. 1 Samuel 16:7b “the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
B. How God sees man is seen in the simplistic words of the publican.
C. Luke 18:13 “the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
D. Psalm 14:2-3 “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
E. God sees man as failing to measure up to His standard – Jesus Christ and therefore as Romans 3:23 states man “comes short of the glory of God.”
F. God sees man at war with God
1. Romans 8:7 “"The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be"
2. Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart “There is no God.” – Can be translated literally “The fool has said in his heart “No God.”