If you spend any time watching television, you’re bound to have seen commercials from the major phone networks offering unlimited plans
What an attractive offer. No restrictions, no limits, nothing to get in between you and the way you want to use your device.
Maybe that works for a smartphone. But if you want to live realistically and productively as a sinful human being in a fallen world, it’s absolutely critical that you humbly admit your limits.
Every person is subject to three foundational limits: wisdom, power, and righteousness.
1. Limited Wisdom
The Apostle Paul speaks to our limited wisdom when he says, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).
The Bible is reminding us that if God were capable of being foolish, his most foolish moment would be infinitely wiser than our moment of greatest, deepest, fullest insight.
Think of everything that you do not know. Consider all that you have not figured out and do not yet understand. Look back on all those moments when you thought you understood, only to be corrected.
Your wisdom and understanding is frustratingly finite.
2. Limited Power
James calls us to accept the limits of our power with these direct and pastoral words:
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (see James 4:13-17).
Think of everything that you couldn’t control thus far in 2018. How much were you actually in control of last week’s events? Has today already slipped beyond your controlling grasp?
We all like to be in control, but accepting that there is actually very little in life that we do control is a very important spiritual step.
3. Limited Righteousness
Not only is our intellectual capacity limited, but so is our moral capacity. No matter how hard we try, no matter how mature we have become, sin still reduces us all to fools.
Isaiah 64:6 quickly humbles us: “All our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”
Yes, the power of sin has been broken, and by the grace of God, we are becoming more like Christ every day.
But you must remember: you and I have no independent righteousness at all. All our righteousness has been given to us by Christ. He is our righteousness.
Don’t Be Discouraged!
I’ll be the first to admit - I want to place my identity, security, and pride in my wisdom, power, and righteousness. But that’s a dangerous delusion!
As sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, why don’t we joyfully and humbly accept the limits of our wisdom, power, and righteousness?
He is unlimited, we are not, and that's exactly as it should be.
Paul David Tripp
- What did you learn recently that revealed limited wisdom and understanding? How did you respond to this limitation?
- What was out of your control this week? How did you respond to this limitation?
- In what way did you express the limits of your righteousness yesterday? How did you respond to this limitation?
- How can you grow in humbly admitting and joyfully accepting these limitations? Be specific in your application.