My sister Minji (given name Mary) wrote yesterday in response to our devotional on the last conceit to go and said she has been struggling to understand her “artist self”, lately realizing that we never really understand ourselves. As we said, only God understands us. Minji is realizing a great freedom in losing herself instead of the exhausting fool’s errand of trying to find oneself.
I couldn’t agree more.
It is when we seek independence in our endeavors we as Christians go astray. Why? Because we are natural wanderers, we humans that is, and it is our natural tendency to wander from God. What the world considers weakness our Heavenly Father sees as surrender. It is at this point we come to see God’s purpose for our lives and I can sum it up in one word.
That’s it! We Christians have written volumes, recording a mountain of CDs, videotaped thousands of episodes trying to discover our best life now, and all God has ever asked of us is to obey Him.
Pretty simple, huh? Remember now, don’t confuse simplicity with ease. Just because something is simple to understand does not mean it is easy to do. In the Christian life the opposite is almost always true. It is a constant battle of the spirit over our wills and our flesh. And while we can get knocked down in this journey, we should not stay down. The Apostle Paul encourages us:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11)
See, it’s not easy to die to self; we are survivalists by nature. We don’t like to give up, especially not control over our lives. But the fact of the matter is we have never been nor will we be in control of our lives. Only God can make that claim:
“But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God. Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.” (Psalm 22:9-11)
The trouble that is near which David speaks of is usually the type we bring upon ourselves. How? Disobedience. We’re trying to do things in our own power as though we are in control. Look at all the times David took matters into his own hands how that worked out. Look at your own life for that matter!
Why do we do that? Because we are looking at the circumstances and feel as though we have to act. You see, if we trust God to do what His Word promises if we will obey Him, then things won’t work out for the better, right? That’s nonsense Bro Dave. Of course it is, made so more by the fact we do it anyway when we know better. What I am saying is we know God demands our obedience to do our duty and to trust Him with the results, to paraphrase John Quincy Adams. And what we don’t understand is that there is great liberty in obeying God and trusting Him with the results. Major W. Ian Thomas writes:
When it comes to the point of obedience to God’s clear instructions, the Life of Christ within you makes human circumstances irrelevant; for to share His Life now as He once shared His Father’s Life on earth is to know, as Jesus did, that Someone else is taking care of consequences. I do not mean by this that God’s purposes are always irrational in the light of human circumstances, nor that there is any particular virtue in being eccentric or foolhardy. What I am urging is simply that you become delightfully detached from the pressure of circumstance, so that it ceases to be the criterion in the decisions you make. You do as you are told, whether God’s instructions appear to be compatible with the immediate situation or not, and you leave God to vindicate Himself and to justify the course of action upon which you have embarked at His command.
Wow! That would make one big refrigerator magnet but you know what, you might want to make room for it anyway. Imagine the people of God, the politicians in elected offices, and the preachers in the pulpits across America living our lives in such a manner. Would to God that we would finally, finally trust Him with the outcome of our lives.
But alas we must have political pragmatism when it comes to abortion and outright outlawing it. We can’t get a personhood amendment so let us compromise for something less with the absolute intention of getting there one day…thirty-eight years later we are still on that pragmatic path, strewn by over 50 million dead babies. Just to give you an example.
Let me ask you an honest question that I want you to really dwell on; it is my great struggle. If I trust God to control the outcome of…say an election, and I vote not for the lesser of two evils and vote but only for a godly man or woman, am I wasting my vote if it “guarantees” the election of the “opponent”?
Did God send Nebuchadnezzar to conquer Judah? Will God use our enemies to chastise us if we are not obedient to His Will and His Word? Solomon spells it out very clearly:
“The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; though they join forces, none will go unpunished. In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice. A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:1-9)
Right now in Washington DC you have men and women scurrying around trying to figure out what to do about our debt and budget woes. They could just stop, do the right thing, and let God work out the details. Why that’s ridiculous Bro Dave, we can’t take that chance with our economy.
So, if say, John Boehner and the House of Representatives would have stood their ground on cap, cut and balance, would God have moved the men and women in the Senate? Would God have moved the self-professing Christian in the White House to do the right thing? We’ll never know because the smart people aren’t willing to take that chance, as though God is no longer trustworthy.
And therein lies our nation’s problem. As my buddy Gregg Jackson always says, America doesn’t have an economic problem, she has a spiritual problem.
This type of talk is wasted on 90% of the people in elected office; how do I know that? They’ve already proved they don’t trust God with the outcome. Instead of doing as we’re told, we look at God’s instructions and say, yeah but, that’s not going to work in our current situation, and so we choose our way.
We really are sheep.
And we need a Shepherd.
His name is Jesus Christ.
Do you know Him? If not, you need to. If He’s not your Shepherd then as sheep, and as part of our human nature, we will stray from the Heavenly Father’s commands.
We do so when it comes to going to church. The Bible says we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and yet we come up with a thousand excuses not to go to church. This too is disobedience.
How about this? How about we take a first step towards obeying God and go worship Him in His house with His people?
Just a thought…who knows, you might actually have a great weekend.
That’s my prayer for all of you, that and Jesus.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers
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