There are a number of things I’ve been accused of.
Some of them are misunderstandings, some of them are blatant uninformed, some are clearly the utterances of bitter people with issues of their own. There are some, however, that are spot on.
One of the things I’ve been accused of, that I have to endeavour to be mindful of, is being smug. An element of me takes pride in what I know and being right and in subtle ways takes pleasure in lauding it over folks when the opportunity arises. I take pleasure in it because there’s nothing anyone can do about it – after all it’s what I know and I am right. If I was not sure on the matter, I wouldn’t be so smug. Ah, but because I KNOW I am right – it really is indisputable – then I have a grin, I have a smirk, I make a smart comment, I offer a quip and people know.
It is a sin. It is an offence in the sight of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The key reason behind it is who gets credit from the behaviour. I could not behave that way and ever claim to be glorifying God. It’s not Jesus-centred. It does not highlight the qualities of Christ like His humility, His submissive nature, His wisdom, His mercy, His kindness. It does none of those things. What it does, however, is points the spotlight on me and what I know and just how smart and right I am. To be honest, there is a glow of that which I delight in. But as with other sins, that delight and glow is fleeting and soon replaced with the gloom of reality. The gloom that my smug and self-satisfied behaviour is worthless and brings no one closer to Christ and real life. Suggesting that I’ve done anyone any favours with that behaviour is to behave in a deluded way.
The smug accusation is one that I continue have to be diligent and vigilant about. I am not afforded an opportunity to think I’m over it, because I know me very well. Well enough to know that it just takes conversing about one thing and I can slip back into the smug and delude myself.
Breaking that, then, I return back to the power of God in Christ and His expression of humility which reinforces His call for me to walk humbly before Him. Who am I, after all? Who am I in the wider scheme of things? What is my knowledge or ‘being right’ in the bigger picture? What really matters?
Jesus is right. I have sinned before Him, I have strayed from His path and in myself I am not able to keep on the path. I am prone to wander and can be easily led astray by a whim. Jesus is right. I am in need of His love in my life and His mercy. I am in need of constant reminder that anything I have to offer of any worth to the world in which I live is totally dependent on Him. As it is totally dependent on Him, it is right that He is glorified and expressed in whatever I do. There is no room for being smug and self-satisfied as I walk with Him. There is every room for uttering those key words that make the difference in life …
I need You, Jesus.
In You, I can. Without You, I cannot. In You, grace and mercy flows. Without You … it gets ugly, it ain’t pretty, the sludge of self blobs over and messes everything up. I don’t want the mess. I don’t others to live with the mess either. I can do nothing about it. I need You. I look to You. I trust You.
Thankfully there are loving friends in my life who are ever ready to let me know when I fall into smug again. Thankfully there’s a loving Saviour who won’t let me live there for long in self-delusion. Thankfully there is a Comforter who is there so I don’t have to fall.
That all operates well from the basis of that regular call in life – I need You, Jesus.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden