NOBODY IS PERFECT – IS THAT GOD’S PLAN?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
The greatest problem that all of us know fine well in our personal lives is that moral inability. That inability to do consistently what we know we should do.
That area of our lives is often called the self-life - it's easily the most impure part of us; it's easily the most unclean part of us. It's the part that we don't want anybody to see, even our dearest friends. That self-life seems to hold within it all kinds of savage, anti-social attitudes that we manage to suppress or repress after a long period of time. Someone has written down some of them and I will read some of them to you. Maybe it will help you to realize that there are others who have this kind of feeling. I think one reason many of us have never been able to do anything about it is, we felt we alone feel this way and so we've decided to live with it.
Here's the description of some of what is down there in that heart of darkness. There is a secret spirit of pride, an exulted feeling in view of your success or position, because of your good training or appearance, because of your natural gifts and abilities, an important independent spirit. There is a love of human praise, a secret fondness to be noticed, a love of supremacy, a drawing attention to self in conversation, a swelling out of self when you have had a free time in speaking or praying. There are the stirrings of anger or impatience which worst of all you call nervousness or holy indignation. There is a touchy, sensitive spirit, a disposition to resent and retaliate when disapproved of or contradicted, a desire to throw sharp heated flings at another. There is self-will, a stubborn un-teachable spirit, an arguing talkative spirit, harsh sarcastic expressions, an unyielding headstrong disposition, and a driving commanding spirit. There is a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed, a peevish, fretful spirit, a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored.
There is a dishonest, deceitful disposition, the evading and covering of the truth, the covering up of your real faults, leaving a better impression of yourself than is strictly true, false humility, exaggeration, straining the truth.
Those are not God's normal plan for our lives. They aren't. I agree with all of you that probably the great majority of us here can say part of that describes part of me. But despite that loved ones, that is not God's normal plan. That is not normal humanity, it isn't. Normal humanity is the kind of heart that we saw in that dear man of Nazareth. That's normal humanity. Everything else is parapsychology. Everything else is sub-normal.
How many loved ones are outwardly so wonderful on Sundays but their family life is a mess? I remember when my mom first said to me, "Ernest, if your friends at church could see you now!" How many of us are in that situation? How many of us are big men and great women and very noble Christians on Sunday but our family lives are in bits and pieces? The people who know us best could not give our testimony. Why? Because they don't see the outward conformity to certain behavior norms, they see the self-life. It's in the home; it's in the family that the self-life manifests itself. You can even cover it up pretty well at the office. But at home they see you, day in day out, night in night out and it comes out. Yet loved ones, you must admit that the great majority of us in churches have that attitude. As if internal impurity is the norm for God's people and is the norm for God's plan. It isn't.
Loved ones, God cleanses your heart or your spirit through your faith by the power of His Holy Spirit. That's the only way, honestly.
We are all exactly the same. We are little, selfish children who want our own way and are angry when we don't get it. And that's why we get irritable. That's why we get jealous. That's why we experience all these symptoms of inward sin. The victory we talk about that many of us have which is just an outward victory managed by continual suppression of all the stuff inside is a shallow victory. It isn't the victory that God has for us at all. God's plan is that we should be pure through and through. That's true. God's plan is that we can be cleansed inside. Our spirits that are unclean can be cleansed by His Holy Spirit, so that you would not feel anger rising within you.
Loved ones, that's what every one of us need. And that's what this Holy Spirit is able to do in your life. He is able to cleanse your heart by faith.
I think the first step is you recognizing the problem down there and then beginning to talk to Him about it. He alone can do it. No psychologist, none of us counselors can ever take you to that inner heart of darkness within you. There is only one that can take you there and that's the Counselor that Jesus has sent.