“I do”, but not perfectly

Is “pristine” the only thing that glorifies God and benefits us? Can love have mistakes in it? Certainly God’s love has no mistakes in it, but what about mine? Can it still be called love if it’s blemished and misshapen? Is it good-enough to offer up?

I don’t think our love should be the focus of our gaze. I believe our love should be a response to His love. His love is perfect–that’s why we focus on it and that’s why it makes us righteous in His sight. His love is the One that went to the cross; ours is the one that exists because of the cross. Our love should not be our shame because it does not define us. His love does–if we’ll let it.

Therefore, we should no more desire only that the glory of God would shine forth from our lives; may we also plead that His glory would shine into our lives. In love is glory and in Him it rests. Let us rest there as well…

I have a burden to be unburdened, Lord!

Have you ever felt like you had too much too do and you’re already impatient with yourself for what is not done? I know that the feeling is not so unusual in this crazy world of amp’ed up schedules and overburdened lives, but what I’m specifically talking about is an overburdened heart.

Can you identify with that? I know I can. It seems like my heart has been overburdened since birth. There have been so many things to contend with, so much to learn to understand. So much I’ve wanted to change and un-root from within me.

That’s a lot to have on one’s emotional to-do list. But I haven’t seen it that way; rather, I’ve considered it all to be necessary and so I’ve plunged in and tried to make a 24 hour workplace of my heart.

It will come as no surprise to you that I’m exhausted. But, to me all I can tell myself is that I can’t afford to be tired. If I slow down everything will just take longer and may, if I’m not careful, never get resolved at all.

I can’t live with that. I need to know that I’m making my way speedily along to healing. I need to know that the pain is quickly being overtaken by gain.

But while my desires for healing–like yours–are good, I think I need to pay attention for a moment to why I get derailed in this journey. I don’t think it is that I want too much. I think it is that I want too much from the wrong source. When I’m rushing along in this fierce pursuit of healing I’m not being still enough to be healed.

It’s like I think God’s forgotten that I’m broken. It is that I think He needs instruction on how to care. But isn’t this thinking pattern something that needs to be healed as well? Shouldn’t I hope for the day when I can be at ease in the knowledge that He is “it”?

I want that to be my reality. When doubts scream at me and try to tell me that I can be a better God than He, may I shut them up. May I tell them, tell Him I don’t want to be. I wasn’t made to be satisfied with such independence; rather, I was meant to be connected. Therefore, I want someone else to care for me so I can become who I was made to be.

Yes, I need lessons, Lord. So, would You help me sit and receive them?

 

Nothing less than abundance in everything

God is proving to be so interesting as I walk with Him. The thing that stands out the most to me at the moment is how He works in everything to make me know Him. He lets me have enough of what I want to see the weakness of those goals.

He would have me do nothing in vain — that is, He would have me do nothing less than labor with His glory as my end. Oh, the pleasures and purity and passion for knowing and enjoying Him to be gained on that journey!

Who is Jesus Christ anyway?

So Jesus is our Savior, but where does His power and authority to save us come from?

His power — yes the one thing in His personal profile that puts Him above every other holy man the world over — is in the fact that He is God’s choice; God’s specific means of saving us.

God looked on us in our sin and saw it as so definitive of our identity and nature that only He could do anything to save us from being who we are. He would send His only Son to work out in our midst the Father’s plan of salvation for us.

But, what did it mean for Him to be the Son of God? How is He different from us who also have the privilege of being called God’s children when we are reconciled to Father God through His Firstborn?

Well, for one thing, Jesus’ coming into the world was marked by the birth of a virgin. Mary carried the Savior of the world in her womb because the Holy Spirit (God) had enabled the physical conception of He who would be God in human form.

From the very beginning of Christ’s life on earth He was strikingly different than any man on earth. Yes, He was similar in visible form to His earthly companions, and yet there was so much of His composition that would not make sense to them unless they believed that He was at once the Son of God and God Himself.

This may sound like a peculiar thesis, but it is on this that the whole of Christianity hinges. Unless Jesus could be God and human simultaneously, He could not reconcile the two. These parties have been astranged because man’s sin can not be deleated and God’s glory cannot be compromised. If God accepted us on our own merits — with our sin — He would need to change His commands and become like we are in character to fellowship with us. This transformation would have done nothing good for either of us; after all, the predicament was not due to the fact God is not good, but that He is and we are in conflict with Him because we are evil.

Therefore, God had to do what would not alter His decree, but deliver us from the harshness of its punishment. The only way for us to be excused from serving our sentance was for it to be served by One who could give perfect righteousness to us in exchange for paying for us a debt He did not owe.

None would do that — none could do that — but Christ. Only He could boast the credentials necessary for a salvation proposition worthy of God’s divine consent. He was holy — it radiated from His whole identity: He glorified God in everything He did; He kept the law in every way, even when it came to the executing the Creator’s intent in His motivations; He knew God and had unbroken fellowship with Him; and He had power over the hearts of man — to declare to them the truth, convict them of their sin and save them from the penalty they deserved by offering divine forgiveness. Yet even in all these things that He did, He did not work to bring glory to Himself; He was faithful to His mission and the temporary limitations that it brought upon the revelation and exercise of His glory and majesty.

Though He was with God when He formed the earth and the world (as it says in John 1:1), He is also the reason all these things were formed. In Christ resides all the essence of God though He for His particular responsibility took on the fullness of mankind’s essence.

The second thing that distinguishes Christ in the eyes of God and the world is that He was sinless throughout the time that He was wrapped in the physical. The weakness of our fleshly bodies subjected Him to every sin that we are tempted and taken in by, but He was greater than the trap. Our mortal limitations were not His whole; He wrestled with sin because He was not under its power and it could have no claim over Him.

This sinless identity and legacy left no room for a barrier to exist between God the Father. In all things He was obedient; The Word (as He is called in John 1) was able to communicate God’s plea for faith to arrise within His people that they might accept His sacrifice on their behalf.

First we were sinners guilty of cursing God and incurring His just wrath, but how much more are we worthy of death if we should bear the guilt of an Innocent’s death rather than claiming it as our only hope before God?

If Christ is not the only thing that we have, then He is the condemnation against us in everything else we have. If I would offer an aliby it would discredit me in the eyes of the Judge; the only plea He will hear is Christ.

More clearly than anything else, Christ reveals the boundaries of God and man, but He also reveals what was the mystery of where they are meant to intersect.

God the Father, our Redeemer Christ, and the guilt of our consciences form the three-fold witness against each of us for our crimes. There is no reason that we should be released from death row except that One who knows our sins would bear them to the grave — putting all their power against us to death under Him.

Christ cannot be dismissed as a false witness on the part of His testimony of our sin. When He was tried to prove the legitimacy of what He testified, He told our end because of what we have done and announced that He would not let us go there without giving us access to His full pardon — a pardon He would offer at the cost of His own life. (God would know death for us so we could freely enjoy His eternal life).

Christ uses suffering to make us well

There is nothing like knowing that you will be okay when God gives you a glimpse of

how in control He is of your circumstances,

how capable He is of unveiling more of His glory to you in it, and

how adept He is in transforming your heart by its pressure.

Love Him even if He is all you have! If testing is what He has chosen for you, then appreciate the fact that there was likely no other way you could have become pliable enough for God’s love to freely mold you.

Consider the trial-testimonies of others, and ask your Savior for new insight in reflecting on yours. Our stories are not so different; they will always reflect the same truths that we need to see, if we are first conscious of the same God at work behind them.

Our Lord has enabled me to face and endure the testing of so many things that I never could have faced or come through alone. This is how the gospel of Jesus Christ continues to accomplish the revelation of grace in our lives: It corrals us into positions from which we might be most certainly impressed by our need for His sacrifice and by His willingness to offer it.