“I get why people don’t want to go hand-to-hand with the depth of kindness Jesus found common. I get why it’s easier to just say what sounds like the right stuff from inside a bunker. The problem is, the Bible said the only weapon any of us really have is love. But it’s love like a sword without a handle and because of that, sometimes we’ll get cut when we pick it up. It’s supposed to be close contact, though. Love is always that way. I don’t think Bible verses were meant to be thrown like grenades at each other. They were meant for us to use to point each other toward love and grace and invite us into something much bigger.”
-Bob Goff Love Does
‘Christians typically identify two ways to respond to God: follow him and do his will, or reject him and do your own thing. Ultimately this is true, but there are actually two ways to reject God that must be distinguished from one another. You can reject God by rejecting his law and living any way you see fit. And you can can also reject God by embracing and obeying God’s law so as to earn your salvation. The problem is that people who belong in this last group – who reject the gospel in favor of moralism – look as if they are trying to do God’s will. Consequently, there are not just two ways to respond to God but three: irreligion, religion, and the gospel.’
-Tim Keller, Center Church
That moment when you feel the weight of His presence and His glory;
That moment when you see where you were and what you walked out of;
That moment when you realize that His grace covers all of your mistake and His love covers a multitude of sins;
That moment when you taste the freedom that only He can bring;
In that moment, He is all.
Deep in my being, there’s a place, a room where I tend to keep all my records and results. Almost like a history room. Things that have gone well, things that have gone badly. All of my issues that have been resolved favorably are packed away in tidy little boxes, nice and neat and clean. Everything that hasn’t been resolved just kinda sits haphazardly in the box, if its not scattered on the floor around the box. One side of the room is organized, clean, put together. The other side; not so much. But you can’t see the other side of the room unless you push through the shroud that dangles in the middle of the room. The outward picture of myself tends to be like this room too often. I’ve become comfortable with showing everyone the good, organized parts of me and only allowing some to see shroud that hides the side that isn’t put together and is messy.
The messy side of me wars against the results oriented part of me. I’m very results oriented, not just in my personality, but also because of society and the pressures of the “want it now; have it now” attitude that has been fostered for years. That wars against the patience and long-suffering that the Father is trying to cultivate inside me. If I’m really honest, I like the organized side of the room. It looks better. It seems correct. But the more I see my mess, the more I realized how painful it would be to tear the shroud, the curtain, down from where it hangs.
So I wrestle with a God who wants me to rest with Him, to trust Him. I think it’s funny and slightly ironic that the two themes that He showed me at the beginning of the year are coming back into my main focus during this time. I still don’t know what will come from this time, this wrestling, this pressing of grapes.
“Love be in my bones;
Love shake down my walls”
So many times, when I pray in the mornings and put on the armor of God, I pray “Don’t let me treat it like a toy sword, but rather like the surgeon’s scalpel.”
I’ve been on the surgical table for the past month, fighting off the anesthesiologist and insisting on feeling the pain and rawness of where I was.
Through it all, the Father has been speaking to me, trying to calm my heart. I have finally calmed down and can hear His voice. And I’m back on the table.
I have to believe, that while I am on the surgical table and waiting for the Surgeon’s scalpel to finish the work that He has started, the healing process will not look like what I think it should. Not only is God the surgeon that is cutting and removing and repairing, He is also the physical therapist, helping teach me how to walk again. He is the nurse that changes my bandages and cleans my wounds. He is the specialist that shows me how much progress I have made afterwards. And despite all of this medical work He has done, He places me in a community of people that could disrupt and destroy what He has done.
He doesn’t always make sense to me. But He doesn’t have to answer to me. I’m the one who answers to Him.
I’ve been listening to David Vallier’s song Sovereign quite a bit lately. It’s a great song, proclaiming God’s nature and perfect and beautiful and…sovereign it truly is. The chorus itself causes action to take place:
You are sovereign, Lord and I bless You
You are perfect in nature
But I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Maybe too much. My mind has been running through so many “what ifs” and “if onlys” and telling God “if I had one more chance to have a conversation…” Worries have been slipping back in and I have focused more on them than on Jesus.
Yesterday, I realized how lazy I am when it comes to self-discipline. It’s literally like the Holy Spirit comes up with a great idea, tells me and I reply with “Are you serious? That’s a GREAT idea! Let’s do this!” And then I go and do the complete opposite of that great idea. While rolling through this discovery with the Holy Spirit yesterday, I saw that the reason why I’m lazy and jumping back into “if onlys” was because my heart was not fully content and satisfied in Jesus. Owww.
I want to be fully content and satisfied in Jesus and Him alone. I really do. But I know how my brain works and it sees that, the “to be fully content and satisfied in Jesus” as an item on a to-do list; something else to check off, if that makes sense. The more I seek God about it, the more I realized that I may never get to a place where my heart is fully content in Christ and I never have to address it on a daily basis. Right now, I have to remind my heart to seek Him on an hourly basis. Sometimes I have to tell my heart multiple times within an hour. And to be honest, that discourages me because I see it as “my heart doesn’t get it” and I begin to “white knuckle” it and that doesn’t work AT ALL. Perfection can’t and won’t be achieved in this life because humans are not perfect – Jesus is the only perfect human to ever walk on the earth. That brings some peace to my heart and soul, just knowing that this is a process. What I’m going through right now is a part of a long process and the get-stuff-done-and-checked-off-the-list part of me wants this to go quickly; deep down, I know that this will not happen as quickly as I want it to. Sanctification never happens like that. And more and more everyday, I’m becoming more and more okay with that.
In the second verse of the song Sovereign, there’s a couple of lines that made me think this morning about where my heart has been the past few days:
In the valleys and the shadows
You have set a table for me
Though its hard to see, I will follow
I give it to You, I give it to You
That reminder…it helps.