It has been my experience in the five years that I have been coming to know Yeshua that He never expects me to prove myself to Him.
It has been my experience all of my life that almost every human being expects me to prove myself to them, almost all of the time. They would never come out and say this, of course, but it’s there, lurking just beneath the surface.
When I was a child, and up until I was the age of about twenty-three, I would make statements about what I was going to do with my life, and would be immediately hit with a comment like, “You talk foolish”, or “You don’t know anything, that’s ridiculous”.
Amazingly enough, I never let comments like that discourage me. I didn’t necessarily use them as fuel, either, although I certainly could have. Instead, I just put my mind to accomplishing something, and didn’t stop until I succeeded. Around the age of Twenty-five, I realized that if I wasn’t successful in something, it was usually due to something I had done wrong, maybe some flaw in my planning, or some self-destructive trait in me. So I began to set my mind to eliminating these things, and some success followed. Yippee.
Then, I lost everything when my wife left me. I lost my daughter three days a week, my wife, companionship, my house, and strangely enough, my job, through a lie a fellow employee told about me, which my boss believed. Just prior to all of this happening, I had come to faith in Christ, realizing I could never save myself, never resurrect myself, and never come close to perfection. The one week where I lost everything totally broke me. But I had Jesus, and although at times,. Life didn’t seem worth being around for, He was enough.
As I grew to know Jesus, it struck me as odd that believers would also question my experiences, and my insights, as if I couldn’t possibly know what I knew. Some would make comments such as, “how do you know this, since I have been a believer all of my life, and I didn’t even know that?” My answer would always be, “I don’t know”, because I didn’t.
I would talk about grace in ways that people hadn’t heard before, and some would be encouraged, but there were always some who would tell me, “Don’t go spreading that around, or you’ll see a bunch of people doing whatever they want, whenever they want. And by the way, how the hell do you know you are right?”
Answer? “I don’t know, ask God.”
For the most part, people have always tried to get me to prove myself to them. I don’t know why. And see, the thing is, I can tell when they are doing it, they don’t have to come out and say it, I just know. The temptation to do just that, to prove myself to them, is strong. There are times I want to tell people why I know what know, I want to give them irrefutable evidence of what I know, so that they will just shut up. The temptation to do so, as I said, is very strong.
But I won’t do it.
Sometimes, I don’t gather the fact that they are trying to get me to prove myself, and I go about trying to explain myself without being hurtful. That always ends up being a pointless exercise.
But I will not prove myself.
You see, I have nothing left to prove. I have no one to impress. And I have nothing left to gain. I have already gained the only thing I need, LIFE through Jesus.
Both believers, and people who don’t believe will disbelieve some of the things we tell them. They will disbelieve our experiences, and they will probe around the words we say, using every little thing they can to “label” us. I was labeled “performance oriented” the other day. I found that odd, but interesting, and yet overall, I knew I was labeled as such because the one who said it merely doesn’t understand what I have been saying. And that’s okay.
I am not going to spend time proving that I am not “performance oriented”. I know the truth, and any explanation I give remains at the mercy of the one reading it. Yet I am at no one’s mercy, so why should I do the things that would leave me a prisoner to someone else’s opinion?
If you want to believe that I am performance oriented, or that I rely too much on grace, or maybe I don’t have the “experience” to know the things I know, go ahead. If you want to label me a heretic, go ahead. If you want to call me a fool, well…I am a fool, a fool for Jesus. And that’s okay, too.
I wish believers wouldn’t test everyone the way they do. I wish we could all accept the experiences of those we claim to love. But since that hasn’t happened whole-scale yet, rest in the fact that you have nothing left to prove, and no one to impress. Since Jesus doesn’t condemn us, let others do so in folly. We find our identity in Him, not in the opinions of people who don’t have enough information to make good judgments. If we rely on man for our identity, we are to be pitied most of all creatures.