If you must have a parade to tell us how proud you are of yourself, you’re not proud of yourself. If you must convince people that you feel good about yourself, you don’t feel good about yourself. The truth is that deep down inside, you know that there is something wrong with yourself. Such is as it should be. Because we are created in the image of God, we are rational beings with moral natures, each of us bearing a conscience. This is what separates us from the animals. We know there is a God who is righteous and just, almighty and all-knowing. We know that there is right and wrong, and try as we may we can’t escape this knowledge. We also know that we are separated from this God because of our sins. Indeed, we know that our problem is not only that we sin but that we ARE sinners—that our very nature is crooked, turned in on itself, and morally depraved. And we even know that this righteous God from whom our sins have so separated us shall one day judge the world—that is, ourselves.
One might think that such knowledge would make a man repent, run to this God begging forgiveness, and promise to love Him above all things. But such is the broken and sinful nature of a man that he will not do this. Instead, the man turns away from God clinging to his sin—for he loves his sin more than he loves the true God. And in an attempt to live in his sin with a clear conscience, he creates his own god, an idol, who will approve his sin and even cheer him along his way. The man does not know that behind this false god which he has created lies a very real demon. And even if he did know, he would not care so long as this demon allowed him his pleasures which demons are naturally gratified that he should indulge. One day he might not even feel that pang of conscience or hear that inward voice that has cried out for so very long that something is terribly wrong with himself. The true God whom he despised has justly given him over to his sinful devices and he is now a prisoner to his passions, a lecher, the image of God within so withered that hardly a man is recognizable at all. And so the man gratifies his whims all the way to hell (Romans 1:18-32).
But to the man who still hears that voice of conscience, who knows he’s not right, indeed even hates himself (for every true believer first hated himself before he came Christ, and after coming hates his sin all the more), to that man there is hope. Indeed, it is God’s greatest gift to you that thus far you still suffer your alienation from Him for your sin. And now this great God comes to you with open arms imploring you to come and trust Him to cleanse, restore, and save you from your sin and final judgment. Will you be completely healed of your sinful desires? Maybe, maybe not, but He will put you on the path to healing so that as time goes by you will grow in His grace so that you will look less like yourself and more like Him.
The good news is that you no longer have to pretend you are proud anymore: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).