I die when pride and I collide

Turning against God cursed the understanding and vision of we earthly-dwellers. Created to embrace Life in its fullness through our relationship with Him, we live isolated and largely dull existences because we have wandered so far away from Him. It is no wonder that we live for the power and prestige that we can create, rather than for the passion and promotion of what God has already created.

When I think about success, I normally evaluate my goals, my disappointments and how these things make me feel. This leads me to ask questions that begin with why, center on me, and pose a problem with God‘s exercise of His sovereignty.

Evidently I have not had my soul satisfied in Christ to the extent that work and its potential for personal recognition will not keep me on a see-saw of egocentric emotions. There is yet sin that chains my heart to hopes that cannot recognize Christ as King. Hopes that will never allow me to recognize freedom in the alliance to things eternal and incomparable.

I have no choice but to confess to Him the loyalties of my deity-dethroning heart. My tension is self-inflicted, yet used by God to point out the weakness of my hold on grace; the dimness of my focus on Christ.

God has so much more for me — like Him — but I can’t see any of it unless He commands the computations of my brain and the desires of my heart. God often alerts me to our need for Him to take more Elaine-ground with a simple question that gets right to the central error He wants to deal with in my heart. Two nights ago it was

What is your definition of success?

Is it what you can hold onto of

ability

beauty

competition

dominion

excellence

fluidity

god-ness

hierarchy?

What if Mine was the success and there was nothing besides that? What if you live not to succeed, but to soak Me up? To revel not in making much of yourself, but in letting Me make much of Myself to you?

What else could I respond but with gratitude that my Lord would convict me of my sin and lead me to repentance?

Father, let Your Son be my joy; let His sacrifice and reward be my boast. May this life be my only life — a beauty and satisfaction that drips down into the empty vessels of my words and acts.

Don’t let me miss the point of living and working, Lord; it can only be to know Christ and Him crucified, for this is the only peace and joy for me and my world.

Reveal the truth of who You are to me in a new degree that I might freely acknowledge that I am nothing to promote, but that my worth is revealed in who I get to promote. My joy and peace and satisfaction is also summed up in the greatness of You and not of me. You don’t need me to promote You, but surely I need to promote You. To be consumed with making You known I must first be consumed with knowing You.

What I’ve Finally Figured Out

Call me “the Quester.” I’ve been king over Israel in Jerusalem. I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth. And let me tell you, there’s not much to write home about. God hasn’t made it easy for us. I’ve seen it all and it’s nothing but smoke—smoke, and spitting into the wind.

Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened,
A minus that won’t add up.

I said to myself, “I know more and I’m wiser than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I’ve stockpiled wisdom and knowledge.” What I’ve finally concluded is that so-called wisdom and knowledge are mindless and witless—nothing but spitting into the wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-17

I’ve thought about it, if my life was so “good” that I could say that it was exactly what I wanted, would it truly be better than the life I have now? If the things God uses — which I often don’t appreciate in the moment — to humble me and correct what needs to be straightened in my character, were not apart of so much of my experience with Him, would I still love Him?

Sound like a silly question? Not if you consider something He has been showing me again and again and again and again — yes, I’ve needed to see it that much — in this season: If I did not know I needed God, and it was not a fact and an emotion and a definition of who I am that faces me every day, than I would not love God.

This idea takes me back to the verse in the Bible where it says:

This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

(1 John 4:9-10 The Message)

So, the very idea that I would believe that I could love God without Him acting in my life, to push me toward Him, is choosing to believe what is absolutely opposed to the gospel. And to find fault with the tools He uses to accomplish this is arrogant; I am questioning God’s knowledge of the nature of my sin and my primary opposition to Him — I am telling Him He doesn’t know what He is talking about, and I know myself better than He does.

Yet, who knows sin better than God? Who has seen its devastation more clearly, and knows from whence this destruction came? Whom can I trust with this grievous heart of mine more than One Whose holy heart can wrap mine up with mercy that can only belong to a God like this One?

Surrender to Live?

I can say I want God’s way in my life and try to leave it at that, but I will soon find that I am dissatisfied, feeling the incompleteness that comes with living life apart from our One central point — the One who holds together all of what we know and see and yet wonder about.

Or, I can realize that there can be no other way with me; it must be His way, or I have chosen to live with less than all I could have in this life. I think that I can have it all if I just live for myself, but this only seems like it is a legitimate hope because I am securely at the head. I think that I will lose out if I step aside so God can take that place that I so fiercely covet.

Yet, will I truly lose out? Can living for more than I can hold onto and keep in-check really prove to be a misuse of my passion and potential? Is it worth it to gain if I have not lost? If I am not willing to lose something I value for the sake of something more valuable — can I really expect to be able to hold onto anything at all?

If I’m already surrendering, I don’t have to fear any loss or disappointment or chaos, because I am not ultimately trusting my circumstances to deliver what I need, but my God. He alone knows what I truly need; He knows what is necessary in mistakes and trials to release me from the power of secret sins, teaching me to realize that life is in Him and not in me or what I see.

If I will live in surrender, I will live in hope. And, if my hope (Christ) is able to hold me, than I cannot fear any significant loss. I cannot rationalize unbelief because I am setting myself up to succeed according to my own resources. Considering all these petty “resources” I have now will ALL ultimately fail me, I must ask myself, “What grounds do I have for trying to convince God that I am right in my ongoing resistance to offer myself wholly to Him?”

I don’t. I would be a fool to believe my own ideas about what is best for me apart from what God has said since the beginning of time — long before I was born, or had any ideas about what I would like to have in this life. God knew what I needed, and was eager to reveal it to me. I have been the stubborn one.

I have been the one who is constantly insisting that I know what is up and what will do great things for me; and all my life I have been convinced that that is not God or anything that comes with Him. One, I cannot control Him. Two, I do not know what to expect with Him. Three, I would rather just be able to do everything on my own.

But, do I think He will not ever-so-patiently whittle down all that opposition in me? Do I think that I have to lead this? Do I think that He will not accept exactly what little I have to offer now, and with that make a way for me to give Him all the rest?

Yes, I often do think all these things, but even this He can deal with. He knows what He’s doing — including where sin begins and the only One who can bring it to an end — because He holds the keys to all the freedom that His perfect righteousness has to offer. I will trust Him.