There is no power in positive thinking when that positive thinking is positively false regarding who we are before the Lord. There may be some good to be gained by a person choosing not to continually dwell on negative thoughts—I’ll never meet my goal; I’ll never get a promotion; I’ll never have a close friend; etc. But when we evaluate who we are in the light of the Lord who made us, we need to speak and think honestly. Only when we see ourselves for who we are can we truly yield ourselves to the Lord and find grace.
5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
When Isaiah evaluated Israel, he said some very true things about us all. God is good. God is for those who follow him. But, in our nature, we will not do so. We are easily led away from what the Lord commands. In our own strength, even our most righteous acts, the best of our best, will fall short of the infinite perfection of our God. We have been a long time in sin. And, if this does not change, our iniquities will sweep us away to destruction.
Honestly assessing our sinfulness will allow us to look to the Lord with proper humility. A person who understands that Isaiah 64:5-6 applies to us all will be a person who approaches the Lord differently. We will not think, even for a moment, that God owes us goodness. Nor will we think that we, in our own goodness, can earn our way into God’s favor. Instead, we will be like children, helpless on our own, who can only make it if our Father chooses to pick us up and carry us home.