This week Cheyenne and I discuss Shame.
I will be to Him a father and he shall be to be a Son
Sometimes when I doubt that God will use my troubles, it is because I doubt Him. While it a rare occasion to say with the tongue,” I don’t believe in God”, “or Maybe God doesn’t really exist”, my actions speak these words almost daily.
To understand the Bible and all of God’s promises, I must first come to the unbelievable and complete lunacy of who Jesus really is. I must be crazy in the eyes of the world. Am I stripped of all pride when I come to Jesus with my troubles? Do I simply “hope” he will take my troubles? Am I giving Him 99 %? If I go to Him with my fingers crossed and A tepid hope He cannot do his complete work in me. He wants total surrender.
“You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of The earth. And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain…” (10)
Am I only recognizing intellectually that Jesus is God? Click To Tweet My Heart must acknowledge what my mind already knows:
He is The same God who created the earth and Heaven. He overcame evil on the cross. This is nothing short of awesome!
If I am going to have troubles by mere fact of being alive, Why then should I for one second doubt that he will use them for his purpose?
Ephesians 5:1-20The Message (MSG)
5 1-2 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
3-4 Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn’t fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
5 You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
6-7 Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.
8-10 You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.
11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.
When I fear from the bottom of my soul, what am I fearing? There is a daily or typical fear of losing something nice, or that the weather won’t cooperate with my plans. This is not real fear. This is a disdain for discomfort. When I speak of fear, its of deep abandonment from all hope. That scares the heck out of me. What do I have, after all, if there is no hope. Hope and excitement of something bigger and happier in the future was the foundation of my childhood. I grew up dreaming Christmas morning. It wasn’t particularly spiritual for me, but it wasn’t without religious thought. Mainly it was a super fun time to be with family, experience the stability of tradition, and the joy of gifts. As I grew into a teenager, summer vacations and summer camp added to the hopeful splendor of the near future. It fueled my everyday waking and moving. Where is this hope in my life today?
Paul gives both a big picture and little picture view of not just WHO to hope in but HOW to hope in Him.
This, above all, is something I just can’t hear enough.
I don’t have to do anything or be anything to receive his love.
As a result, God in his kindness has given us his approval and we have become heirs who have the confidence that we have everlasting life.
By keeping company with Him (Scripture, prayer, contemplation, etc), I will gain a broader view of what loving others should truly look like. In his inspired wisdom, He doesn’t stop there. He knew me, 2000 years before my birth. He knew me and all my contemporaries.
In this era of social media, instant knowledge, and constant connection, we have new idols. The scariest part of this is that most of us are not aware of our new idol worship.
God does not need productivity from me. He doesn’t need me to do anything. He wants my love. As I spend more time getting to know Him, I will become one with His will. While my human nature will make it impossible to do His will 100% of the time, the Holy Spirit, whom I invited into my heart, changes the game. God knows of what I am capable. He has a plan for my life that will be of greater use to the kingdom beyond anything I can imagine. Paul reminds me in vs. 17 to be in tune with God’s will. I must not live on autopilot thinking I know what I am doing. Without a prayerful and discerning approach to every day, I will begin to lose touch with that plan.
My first line of communication for God’s plan for my life must God Himself. After that, there is nothing. God is my first line, second line, and third line. Everything must pass through discernment before it becomes a part of my routine.
The Lord is near those who have a broken heart
Psalm 34: 18
What is it to feel a broken heart? Am I trying to live life without pain? What is it about “me” that makes me think I can get through this life with ease?
We are told “many are the afflictions of the righteous”(19). He does not say “the odds are we will have afflictions”. Discipleship comes with broken hearts: lost friendships, discomfort, ridicule, and pressure to “conform” . Discipleship guarantees afflictions. Click To Tweet
It hurts to be wronged by others. It’s a deep pain and feels unnatural to love those who aim to hurt me. Real comfort comes only from a lasting source. Anger, gossip, worldly solutions give only shaky ground to boast upon. “My soul shall make its boast in the Lord…”(2)
Am I leaning on myself today for comfort? When I do this, am I using the world for my own perverse sense of righteousness fueled by pride? Am I seeking this or am I seeking to be near the Lord at all costs?
Do you feel abandoned by God? This week I follow up on a blog post I wrote [When God is Distant ] detailing my thoughts from Hebrews 12:1-2:
2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Sometimes God just feels distant. When we are young Christians, He feeds us with a steady diet of warm and fuzzy. As we mature in our faith, He takes a step back from that feedback. It is not that is will abandon us, He actuals aims to encourage us by His silence. It’s a sign of confidence that we can handle things without the “feeling”. Well known and well loved, Mother Teresa was known to have a serious crisis in her relationship with Jesus. This quote is attributed to her in the linked article [Article on Mother Teresa’s doubt of faith]:
Where is my faith? – even deep down, right in, there is nothing but emptiness & darkness. – My God – how painful is this unknown pain. It pains without ceasing. – I have no faith. – I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart – & make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me – I am afraid to uncover them – because of the blasphemy – If there be God, – please forgive me.– Mother Teresa
Oswald Chambers had an amazing way of connecting the reader to the scripture and ultimately to Jesus [Devotional From Oswald Chambers]. His comforting words reinforce the idea of God’s silence being a good thing. Remember that God does not abandon His people. He lives beyond our time and knows all.
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