What is “sand in my teeth” you ask?
It means that I have only set one foot on the rock of Jesus’ teachings found in the New Testament pages of the bible. When I am put to the test I sink in the sand because both feet are not planted on the Rock. The end result? I face-plant in the sand and it gets in my teeth. A most unpleasant sensation surely to cause staring from others and self-evaluation in a mirror.
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
“…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Letting my good deeds shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise me while I stand on a hilltop with my cape heroically flapping behind me.
I got massive sand in my teeth and it took years to pick out every last grain. I had good intentions, I really did. But my pride was more interested in winning the race and taking the gold medal. My humility was lagging somewhere behind, it didn’t even medal. Imagine that.
Tragedy was striking left and right around me and I am a fixer, it’s what I do. I truly believe it’s how God made me to be. I am an encourager and a connector. I encourage people in their times of trouble and I am able to connect people to make things happen. But I couldn’t see that these were gifts given to me in order to bring people closer to God. Maybe I couldn’t see that because my head was down while I ironed my cape.
I took the credit for the things I did or said or prayed.
I didn’t give God the glory.
I let all my good deeds shine on Facebook and in conversations with others.
So that I could backstroke through the bliss of the compliments.
I snapped out of it only after someone pointed out that I was reveling in the back-patting a little too much. Then of course because God’s threads of instruction are weaved throughout our lives, I heard Matthew 7:24-27 at church. And then I felt it… The gritty, dry, choking sand was all up in my face. It was in my eyes, up my nose, and worst of all…. it was in my teeth. I realized once again that I only took HALF of the scripture to heart – oh yes people, I let my good deeds shine for all to see but I skipped out on the second half of the scripture. And dang it if I didn’t LOVE wearing that SuperMe cape!
God, I totally screwed up. I took the glory that was meant to be yours. I used the gifts you have given me for my own personal gain. Please forgive me and help me take the steps to change my selfish behavior! Humble me, Lord.
It took me several years but now when I use my gifts to help someone I have zero desire to pat myself on the back. I am using God’s tools, they are His. He gets the glory. He gets the praise. When someone praises me I say, “I’m just the messenger for God’s love; give Him the glory! I’m not the hero, He is.”
And as it turns out, neither of us need capes.
Have you struggled with patting yourself on the back? Are you wearing your cape right now?