A Common Lust

A Common Lust

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augustine-of-hippo2I share a lust with St. Augustine. Although he was a pillar of the church, he regularly prayed,

“O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.”

We inherited this lust from our original parents, who invented the art of excusing sin by blaming others (Gen. 3:9-13).

I have struggled with this lust from my youngest days. Going to law school only made it worse (there’s no one I defend more quickly, zealously and skillfully than myself).

This lust has blinded my eyes to my own wrongs, delayed my repentance, exposed my pride, blocked God’s grace, robbed me of forgiveness, and strained relationships with people I dearly love.

I’ve found that the most effective way to fight this lust is to dwell on two crucial facts. First, I remember that my sins are far more serious than any person could ever realize … so serious that only Jesus’ death on a cross could pay for them (Eph. 1:7; Eph. 2:8-9).

Second, I remember that because Jesus took my guilt on his own shoulders, God himself has vindicated me completely, declaring me “not guilty” in his sight (Col. 1:19-22).

When I remember that God himself has already vindicated me in Christ, it is so much easier to listen to criticism from others, to face the truth about my sin and failures, and to ask God to use the sting of human correction to show me where he is calling me to change and grow (Ps. 141:5; Rom. 8:28-29).

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  • Have you ever struggled with the lust of always vindicating yourself?
  • When is the last time this happened? What triggered it? How did you respond? How did your response impact your relationship with other people?
  • How can dwelling on the vindication you’ve already received through Christ help you to fight the lust of trying to vindicate yourself?
  • What do these passages have to say about listening to correction: Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 15:32; Proverbs 17:10?
  • To learn more about how to fight the lust of self-vindication, see Alfred Poirier’s excellent article, The Cross and Criticism.

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2014 Ken Sande

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6 Responses to "A Common Lust"
  1. Just starting my 7 week journey, it’s so good to be reminded of the righteous judgement and justification of the cross. God has shown me so much grace. How can I withhold it from others? It brings wisdom and peace.

    • I prayed for you this morning as you start your personal study, Kim. May God use it to draw you closer to him and to enrich your relationships with every person around you! Ken

  2. I pray that God enriches my relationship with my husband, family, friends and co-workers. I am on my 7 week journey and look forward to what God has in store for me.

    • May God richly bless your studies, Sheri, and give you many opportunities to deepen your relationships in the days ahead. Thanks for loving and laughing with Corlette last week. She smiles whenever she thinks of you!

  3. Ouch!! Guilty! Excellent excellent article! I especially love the part that said: ask God to use the sting of human correction to show me where he is calling me to change and grow! That is my prayer! God I also ask You to make my heart tender and teachable even when it hurts!!

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