Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
July 17, 1997
Last Updated :
July 20, 2012
Who Do You Uplift In Your Life And Ministry?
There is one final reason why we are told not to look inward to ourselves. The simple fact of the matter is, there is nothing good there. If you think there is, then you are being deceived by your own pride and vanity, and you will be utterly useless to God in any real way. It is easy for us all to say, "Oh sure, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I need Jesus." However, how much of it is just lip service? How much do we really believe it? In his Epistle, the Apostle James writes the following:
"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
James 1:26, KJV
We can easily quote verses like Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23, but are we just applying them to others, or to ourselves as well? The Jewish religious elders were notorious for doing this. Remember the story Jesus shared regarding the publican and the sinner? Which one of those two are we?
From one end of the Bible to the other, we find prophets and men of God, not boasting of how great they are, not boasting of what wonderful things they have done for the Lord, but beseeching the Lord for His love, mercy and forgiveness because of their sinful state. King David is particularly known for his many supplications to the Lord in his psalms. One which has been used as an example of prayer by many Christians is Psalm 51 which David prayed after murdering Uriah and then stealing his wife Bathsheba. It says in part:
". . . Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalms 51:1b-10, KJV
It was because of David's honesty with the Lord and the fact that he acknowledged his true condition that he was so special in the Lord's sight. When Samuel was sent to Saul to inform him that his kingdom would be given to David, Samuel said:
"But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."
1 Samuel 13:14, KJV
The Apostle Paul confirmed this same thought when he preached in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia:
"And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."
Acts 13:22, KJV
It is when we are so full of ourselves and our own pride that the Lord's Spirit does not have a chance to work in us or through us. As long as we think we are good, as long as we think we can save ourselves or merit our own salvation, we will never be truly saved. As any doctor will tell you, the first part of finding a cure is to admit that there is something wrong. For most people, this can be the hardest step to take, either with an Earthly doctor, or with our Heavenly Spiritual Doctor. You see, the Lord is an Expert Cardiologist. He knows exactly where the problem lies, and how serious it is. He also knows how to remove the diseased tissue. So exactly how bad is it? Well, I think the Bible can speak for itself on this matter. Consider this verse:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9, KJV
Our heart is so evil that we can't even begin to realize how wicked it is. Working in conjunction with our brain, it protects itself by feeding us all kinds of rot to keep us living in a state of delusion. It tells us how good we are, how great we are, that there is nothing wrong with us, etc. This is in direct contrast to what Jesus had to say about it:
"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
Matthew 15:18-20, KJV
This is why our Heart Specialist needs to perform an operation of the Spirit. Modern man prides himself in being able to perform heart transplants, but do you know what? He can never get to the real root of the problem because it is spiritual in nature. The real cure isn't in replacing our heart with another healthy human heart, or even with an artificial one, but rather in replacing it with one of the Lord's own making:
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:"
Ezekiel 11:19, KJV
The Apostel Paul was no stranger to these matters of sin and the battles of the flesh. If you read my article entitled "A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?", you will discover that Paul knew exactly what the score was between himself and the Lord. Even after the Lord had smacked him down hard and turned him into a new creature, Paul still wrestled for the rest of his days against his old flesh and his besetting sins, as we see by these verses:
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
Romans 7:18-19, 24, KJV
Like Paul, we must make a conscious effort on a daily basis to keep ourselves in submission to the Lord and His will. Paul said it quite well with the following:
"I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
1 Corinthians 9:26-27, KJV
In his epistle to the Roman Church, Paul emphasized this again when he said:
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Romans 8:7, KJV
So then, from all of the above verses, it should be clearly recognized that no good thing dwells within us, no matter what anyone says. That being the case, why do so many false religions and New Age doctrines teach that we should look inward for the answers? The answer is quite simple: as long as we are carnally minded, as long as we dwell on the things of the flesh, as long as we think the answers can be found within ourselves or in the temporal things which the world has to offer, we will never lift up our eyes to Jesus and see the real answer. That is what meditation is all about. It isn't about lifting our hearts up to Jesus; it is about getting lost in our own darkness of sin . . . and a lot worse as I have pointed out elsewhere.
As far as the idea of living in poverty because of not knowing ourselves as stated in the Gospel of Thomas, again, this seems like a contradiction to accepted Scripture. It is in knowing Jesus and His Word that we acquire the True Riches of the Kingdom. It is in investing our lives in preaching the Gospel to others that we acquire the true Heavenly Rewards, and those are the only ones which will last. As far as our physical needs are concerned, Jesus explained Heavenly Economics quite well when He said:
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:31-33, KJV
The Apostle Paul also wrote:
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content . . . But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:11, 19, KJV
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
In conclusion, all we need to know about ourselves is that we are sinners in need of a Saviour. We must recognize our sins and shortcomings, but we are not to dwell upon them. We could sit around all day complaining about how bad we are and what a mess we are, but that isn't going to do anyone one bit of good. All that does is keep us from doing what the Lord really wants us to do. Believe me, I have a lot of experience with this subject. Satan just loves to try to discourage me by pointing out all of my mistakes in life. He'll tell me what a failure I am, or what a hypocrite I am, all kinds of nasty things . . . and maybe they are true. Believe me, I have my share of problems and besetting sins just like everyone else . . . but I don't think anyone wants to hear about them. We are to publish the good tidings, and not the bad tidings:
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Isaiah 52:7, KJV
Lucifer's whole job is to get you to take your eyes off of Jesus, because the minute he gets you to do that, you are sunk. You will sink down into the discouraging mire of self, and sin and the old man. Each time I have foolishly invited Satan to pull up a chair and tell me how bad I am, and how I failed at this point in my life, or at that point in my life, or how I failed this person or that person, etc., I have sunk so low into myself, into my own morass of sin, that I get absolutely nothing accomplished for the Lord. You see, that is exactly what the Ole Boy wants! He makes me feel like such a hypocrite that I stop writing. Sometimes it hits me really hard too and I won't write for a few days until the depression passes. Just remember, when you feel that way, it is not of the Lord. The Lord wants us to be aware of our sins, He wants us to feel remorse for them as well, but He also wants us to ask for forgiveness and know that we are forgiven. God promised in His Word to blot out our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24, KJV
It is only Satan who tells us that we are too bad for Jesus. He is the accuser of the Saints. He is the Prosecuting Attorney who says we are guilty until proven innocent:
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Revelation 12:10, KJV
Don't believe his lies for one minute, for he is a liar and the Father of Lies, as we see by this verse:
". . . He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44b, KJV
The simple equation to follow is: accept and recognize our sins, ask for forgiveness, believe we have been forgiven, and then press on to better things leaving the dead weight of sin behind . . . or better yet, let Jesus carry it for us:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
". . . let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13-14, KJV
We are not to try to work out our own salvation in the flesh through introspection or self-analysis, for it will come to no avail. The only way to overcome our weak sinful nature is by a miraculous rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ. Once His Holy Spirit dwells in us, like Paul, we become new creatures. The same weaknesses and temptations are still there, but we now have the power of God's Spirit to resist them; and even when we do fall, we know that He is always willing to forgive us if we ask Him to. Our Salvation is only by faith, and not by good works. We must always remember that, because our good works will never be good enough anyway.
In conclusion, the spirit that is conveyed by the previous quote from the Gospel of Thomas just doesn't seem right to me. Not only does it seem to be too cryptic, too mystic, perhaps even cabalistic in nature, but it seems somewhat contrary to the Spirit of Truth I find in the other Gospels. While Jesus did speak some things in Parables, He normally explained Himself later. In other words, He preached a simple Gospel to simple men. The previous quote doesn't seem to follow that pattern. It seems more similar to some of the New Age psychobabble that we find all over the Internet these days. I honestly don't know who those people are trying to reach with all of that garbage. It is so de-spiritualized, so secular, so humanistic, so full of the philosophies of men that it sickens me. I am reminded of this verse that was written by the Apostle Paul:
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8, KJV
Allow me to also encourage you to read "The Wisdom of God vs the Philosophy of Men", as well as "The Only Credentials You Need!".
It seems that the people who write that New Age nonsense are only interested in promoting themselves and their own carnal wisdom. When I read Jesus' words in the King James Version of the Bible, I don't have to struggle with it. It is easily understood. The quotes from the Gospel Of Thomas -- as well as this New Age nonsense -- is not. Even after reading it a few times, I still had a hard time trying to make some sense out of it. This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I am familiar with. Perhaps it is simply because it is something new for me which I have never read before; or perhaps because I am used to reading Elizabethan English in the King James Bible. However, I am not convinced of this.
Until I have had a chance to read the Gospel of Thomas in its entirety, I would advise caution in accepting it as the bona fide words of Jesus Christ. It is possible that after I do read the whole work, I will have more to say regarding this issue. However, based on my current impression, I am not sure that I am going to have a change of view. We shall see. For now though, this is the best counsel that I can offer anyone who may be wondering about the Divine Inspiration of the Gospel Of Thomas. I hope it is a help.
As a final note, I would encourage anyone who has an interest in reading the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works, to be extremely prayerful and sensitive to God's Spirit. Most of all, I suggest that you become totally familiar with God's Spirit as it is revealed to us in the accepted Scriptures -- that is, the Canon -- before delving into these questionable works. If you don't, you may be opening yourself up to a lot of satanic deception. Please don't forget that some of those books were purposely written for the purpose of confusing and deceiving sincere Christian Believers, and to contradict the real Word of God. In short, as the Apostle Peter writes, choose the good and eschew the evil, as we see here:
"Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."
1 Peter 3:11, KJV
With this word of advice, I will bring this article to a close. I trust that you have found it informative, and I hope that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have enjoyed reading it, I ask you to please consider sharing its URL with your online friends. If you have an account on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, I would also appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link which is found on this page. Thank you so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of resources below which were either mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?
Are You Crucified With Christ?
Are You Saved and Sealed, and Healed and Filled?
Is God a Racist?
So You Really Think You Are So Humble?
The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?
The Only Credentials You Need!
The Wisdom of God vs the Philosophy of Men
What Really Happens to Us When We Die?