When it comes to confronting Jesus Christ on the basis of His qualities and abilities, our attitudes reflect religious superiority. – Oswald Chambers
Normally I can follow Oswald Chambers. He’s challenging and Scottish (I wish I had a Scottish accent, I think my messages would be 4 times better just in sound quality) but this statement has tripped me up for about a week.
My first response: Ozzy – you have lost your mind. There is no universe in which I or any other semi-intelligent Christ-follower thinks they are superior to Jesus. Even the most arrogant person I know doesn’t think they are superior to Jesus.
But then I noticed the nuance of what Chambers was saying. “Our ATTITUDES reflect religious superiority.” We can hide attitudes. We can mask them up with words and false humility. Our true attitudes are shown in the heat of a moment.
Think about this…
Jesus says Love your enemies.
Our first reaction when confronted with one of our enemies: Jesus doesn’t know what she did to me.
Jesus says If you look at another woman with lust in your heart, you’ve already committed adultery.
Our mentality is Nobody is going to know I’m looking and looking never hurt anybody.
Jesus says Pick up your cross daily and follow me.
We think I will follow Jesus as long as it doesn’t interfere with my calendar, my entertainment, and my wallet.
Jesus says Go sell all you have and follow me.
We think He didn’t literally mean it all and besides it’s my money, why does God need it?
Jesus says Forgive them 70 times 7.
We think I could never forgive him for what he did.
Read a hard saying of Jesus. Read any saying of Jesus and then listen to your initial reaction to the words. What is it? We find the first excuse, the first exception, don’t we? We consistently say to Jesus – “But you couldn’t possibly mean this, could you?”
I think this is what Chambers is referring to. Our inner attitude betrays what we REALLY think – we really think that Jesus doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There is no way Jesus could possibly mean for us to forgive, turn the other cheek, love, and live sacrificially in today’s world. No way, right?
He really did. Then he provided his Spirit to empower us to live that way. The starting point is turning over this attitude to him and allowing him to change that first, to get rid of our superiority complex we have with Jesus.
Next time you read those words of Jesus and you feel your attitude coming – stop in that moment and confess to Jesus that heart. Then see what happens next.