I was reading the other day from Agustine's Confessions. I have started a new way of reading books. I keep one close by that I read for about 15 minutes each day. I stay with that book until I finish. The book I am working on now is Confessions.
In reading this way, I keep picking up good insights from great authors. In Book 10, Chapter 36, Augustine says, "And Thou knowest how far Thou hast already changed me, who first healedst me of the lust of vindicating myself, that so Thou mightest forgive all the rest of my iniquities, and heal all my infirmities, and redeem life from corruption, and crown me with mercy and pity, and satisfy my desire with good things: who didst curb my pride with Thy fear, and tame my neck to Thy yoke. And now I bear it and it is light unto me, because so hast Thou promised, and hast made it; and verily so it was, and I knew it not, when I feared to take it."
Notice the phrase "lust of vindicating myself." Proverbs 21:2 says, "Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord bweighs the hearts." One of the great hinderances to our spiritual walk is always having to vindicate our own actions. We easily will agree by saying "yes, but!" Immediately moving to the reason for our actions. I have spent the morning wondering how much spiritual progess can be made with a partial confession."
The apostle Paul says of himself, "I am the foremost of sinners." He does not justify himself, he does not blame his actions on others or the lack of opportunities. He knows that the problem is his own heart. One of the signs of grace at work within our lives is that we will be less likely to vindicate ourselves. In fact the more we walk with the Lord the more we will trust him to vindicate us and the more we will work to walk in a manner worthy of the calling.
John says in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Lord please deliver us from the lust of vindicating ourselves!