Holding your head high is a good thing, something that the human spirit longs to do. At the same time the human spirit is also plagued with pride and self-importance. We want to be honored for who we are, but the tragic irony is that who we are is often less than honorable. We want to think well of ourselves regardless of how we choose to live. Thus we become offended or outraged that others do not honor our pride. It has been like this since Cain.
Think about it. You want your children to honor and respect you. You want your spouse to value you. You want your work to be recognized and rewarded. You want your desires to be satisfied. Despite all the mess, you want to hold your head high. This is the drama of life; people want honor, but their lives demand something else!
Because we are made in the image of God, there is a true longing to hold our heads high. But also because we are made in God’s image, the reason for this longing lies not in ourselves or in our accomplishments. The only authentic reason that you and I can hold our heads high is the prescience of God! Hear these words from Psalm 27:
The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
David was able to hold his head high despite all of his sin and flaws because he sought the presence of God and longed to live in his sanctuary. It is the close presence of God from which we draw our honor. Paul describes us as the workmanship; the masterpiece of God, created in Christ Jesus to honor him. Christ is the one who covers our sins. He is our brother. He is our God. This is why you can hold your head high. It your association with Christ, the awe that you are in his presence continually, that raises your head up from the ashes of your sin.
Mediate on these words from my friend Mark Futato as he comments on this Psalm:
“On the inside we know the presence of God, so on the outside we are fearless and courageous — courageous with the confidence that the presence of God will have a practical outworking in this life.”
So, with a grateful, repentant heart hold your head high today!
This post originally appeared on the Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.