We want to hide. To clean ourselves up first. To put our best face forward.
But is that how God want's us to come to Him? I'd say the answer is no. All you have to do is take a look at most of the Psalms to see how real they are. They get to the heart of things. There is no mincing of words, just raw, honest emotion.
The other day I took time to look through just the first verse of various different Psalms. No, I don't recommend this as a technique to reading the Psalms - but I did see some very interesting things...
O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
Help Lord, for the godly man ceases to be, for the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. Psalm 12:1
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance re the words of my groaning. Psalm 22:1
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.
Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your power.
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fighting all day long he oppresses me. Psalm 56:1
We give thanks to You, O GOd, we give thanks for Your name is near; men declare Your wondrous works.
My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 111, Psalm 112, Psalm 113, Psalm 117
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.
I know, it's a lot and they are from all over the Psalms, but take a look at all of them - they range in emotion from anger, to frustration, to pleading, to praise, to understanding as well as any other type of emotion you could think of (and this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak).
A lot of these are said to have been written by King David - you know, that one guy who was called "The man after God's own heart". Yeah, you remember him. He was the guy who killed Goliath and then later in life ended up sleeping with a married woman, getting her pregnant, basically having her husband killed, and then being the cause for the death of that child as well. I don't know about you, but looking at David's life (among many others in the Bible) brings things into perspective.
David was a passionate man. You can see it by the way he pleads with God and the way he blesses Him. In Psalm 51, when he's faced with his sin with Bathsheba, he says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit."
He just messed up - big time - and here he is, coming to the Lord and boldly asking Him to fix the problem - his heart. How often do we sin and the first thing we do is turn to ourselves. We mistakenly think we can do better or that we have to atone for what we did. The thing is - we can't fix it. There is no way we can clean ourselves up. It's actually pointless for us to turn to ourselves first (or at all).
Romans 8:1-4 says:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeliness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who did not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (emphasis mine)
Basically, all our striving and working to be "good enough" isn't worth it. We fake it, hoping we'll make it, but we're just not fooling God. Christ came to die for our sins not so we could keep trying to save ourselves, but so that we could accept His perfect sacrifice and "cease striving" (Psalm 46:10).
Are you hiding from God?
Are you depending on yourself to "get better" before you come to Him? Or are you just trying to do it all on your own?