I am not one to go around hearing God's voice a lot, and am careful not to just assume it is God, but this was one of those moments that I knew it was God speaking to me. And it reinforced the belief that has been pressing on me lately that God is far more patient with me than I am with myself.
Much has been said about comparing ourselves with other Christians and thinking we are pretty good compared to others. I have been guilty of that at times in my life, but the flip side is usually more my problem in recent years. I look at other Christians and feel they are so much better a Christian than I am, and wonder if I'll ever be where they are spiritually.
Why do we measure ourselves so much by other Christians? Maybe it is just human nature, but if it is wrong to compare and think we are better than other Christians, then it is wrong to compare and think we are not as good as other Christians. We are to aim to be like Jesus, not like any human, no matter how great of a Christian they seem to be. We can never measure up to what Jesus is, but it should be our continual goal to be as much like Him as possible. And I am finding out that He isn't expecting that to happen as fast as I have been. If we need to move faster, He will let us know, but His timing even with our growth, is not always our timing.
I was reading a book the other day and the author made this statement: "No one is a better Christian than anyone else. You are either a Christian, or you're not." That went against everything I have ever believed, but it does go along with what I have been feeling lately. Yes, there is such a thing as maturity in Christians, but what would we say makes a Christian a better Christian, than another? One prays more? Goes to church more? Those are outward things, and if we go by those, we are saying we can work our way into Heaven. So I have to agree with the author. There is no such thing as one person being a better Christian than another. God isn't going to let some people into Heaven before others because they were better Christians, Your sins are either under the blood, or they aren't.
This kind of thinking that one can be a better Christian may be what led to wrong thinking on my part. I am sure I never heard any preacher say it in so many words, but somewhere along the line, I got the idea that you had to be a Christian for a certain length of time, that you had to achieve a specific amount of righteousness - or be a good enough Christian - for God to answer your prayers. That is completely false, and is something I am still fighting to eradicate from my life. There have been times in my life that I was hesitant to pray for something because I felt I wasn't a good enough Christian, that I had messed up too much in the past to be eligible for answered prayer.
It doesn't matter where we are on our Christian walk, whether we are just beginning, or we are close the end, it doesn't matter to God. We are His children and have just as much right to ask Him for something in prayer as any other Christian.
Yes, there is such a thing as disobedience and sin being in the way of God answering prayer, but if we are living in obedience and have confessed all sin, the one day Christian, if he has faith, has as much reason to believe God will hear and answer his prayer as the Christian who has served God for 50 years.
It must grieve our Savior when we start comparing ourselves to each other and judge how good of a Christian we are by where other Christians are with Jesus. He should be the one who decides what kind of Christian we are. And I am not sure He even considers things like that. We do. It is very likely all He considers is if we are being obedient, and if every sin is confessed and under the blood. We are either His child, or we are not.
There are people we admire and have a lot of confidence in, and we may find ourselves wishing we were as good of a Christian as they are. I have done so, but they are human, and not who we should be trying to live like. Admire and have confidence, but we should put our total confidence in Jesus and strive to be as much like Him as we can, with His help.