We, the fleas

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Sometimes, people around us see behaviours in us that we can’t even imagine we have…

“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Proverbs 18:12

When we read a verse like this one, we immediately think, “It’s not talking about me, I’m not haughty…” well, our deceitful heart is always conspiring to prevent us from seeing the truth, that’s why.

And this is exactly what happened to the rich young ruler. He thought he was exceptional, and therefore assumed he had the right to go to the Lord Jesus and ask Him what he had to do to achieve eternal life, after all, he already “kept all those commandments since his youth.” But Jesus knew he was being deceived by his heart and asked him for something that would show him exactly who he was before God…

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt. 19:20-22)

And he went away sorrowful, not because of the Lord Jesus’ request, but because deep down he knew that he didn’t actually keep the commandments, after all, with his reaction he showed that God was not first in his life, as the first commandment says. That’s exactly when the rich young ruler saw his true condition before God. He wasn’t who he thought he was.

The young ruler’s heart was haughty, it probably only showed him everything good he did, concealing who he actually was. That’s what happens with all of us, if we allow ourselves to be led by our own thoughts about ourselves, we’ll think we are breaking through. And that’s why, all of a sudden, a problem happens and we don’t understand it, or someone says something about our behavior and we get offended as if they were committing an injustice towards us, after all, our heart tells us that we are good… we, mere fleas.

The truth is that we don’t know ourselves as much as God knows us, and sometimes people around us can identify behaviours that we don’t even imagine we have. Who would like to end this? Who wants to go deeper within to know yourself? Who wants to discover what is not good? That’s why the heart gets the spotlight now! It doesn’t want you to do this and it brings us the following arguments to justify our mistakes…

“Everyone makes mistakes!”
“No one is perfect!”
“It’s part of our human nature!”
“We can’t be holy, can we?”

And because we like seeing ourselves with good eyes, we gladly accept these justifications.

But what if we didn’t listen to our heart and would ask ourselves, “What do I do that displeases God?”

Did you know that the closer you are to God, the more you see your mistakes? Do you know why? Because God is the light of the world, and the light reveals whatever is hidden. And in order not to expose it, we distance ourselves from it just like the young ruler, and we evaluate ourselves based on our own criteria… “after all, I’m not harming anyone!”

But pay attention to the proverb above… “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty…” We hide the destruction with our ‘good works’. The rest of the verse gives us the solution: “…before honor is humility.

Don’t hide behind your own criteria, on how good you have been, be humble and recognize that your mistakes displease God… your rough way of being, your grumbling, your laziness, your untamed tongue, your bad eyes, your vanity and greed…

This is humbleness, recognizing who we truly are, being sad about it but not leaving as the young ruler did, but actually changing.

We are a mere flea before God. We cannot be proud of who we are. In all honesty, we should be ashamed. This is the only way God will do His work in our life.

Cristiane Cardoso


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