Thursday, September 23, 2010
I have realized something over the last few days.....
A heart mended is important. But a heart being mended is far better.
Everything is fresh.
The realization of sin, healing, and redemption is more new than old.
The implication of being rescued brings humbling, or it should, of who we are in and of ourselves and who God is.
The deep pressing need of God, the only One who can fill that need and longing, is ever present.
Not wanting to compromise or disappoint Him becomes relevant to every moment in life, and every decision.
Loving Him becomes more important than anything else motivating us to consider more fully others around us and the implications of our interactions on a deeper level.
I am in a study of Jeremiah right now, and let me tell you, it is intense.
It is so much more than just a study for me.
I feel like I can relate to this man.
His heart for a people so lost, so deceived, and so broken, is something that I relate to on such a deep deep level.
The indignation that rises up in him, and then the realization that he is no better off as a human being is so profound to me.
His deep conviction to serve God and love Him, even when He was hurting... broken, gives me hope and something to hold onto.
He is real. And He wasn't afraid to be honest.
The study has re-highlighted to me God's detest for sin and compromise in the lives of His children.
I am in this state of humbleness, repentance, and longing to want Him more than my own way.
My conception of having to have it together, not showing weakness or not allowing myself to be weak so that I can serve God, or do whatever it is I feel called to, has been so misguided.
My perception that although being broken before God is good, but being broken in the eyes of man is not good, has been off.
God used Jeremiah in his inadequacies and weaknesses, and allowed him to speak to a nation on His behalf.
When we are broken, we are vulnerable and hopefully willing to see our mistakes and own up to them.
We are open to allowing God's correction and ultimately then walking in the rightness that He has called us all to.
When we are broken, we are pliable.
And when we are broken we are unable to contain enough of "us" that it keeps spilling out all over the place so that He can pick up what needs to be discarded and only keep what is of lasting value.
I feel like we have been trying to put on Him our own definitions of who He is or what He thinks and expects from us, so that we can feel comfortable about whatever it is we are doing, or what we have chosen to think or believe.
But He is God.
He has already told us who He is. And what He expects from us.
The problem is, is that we have allowed the worlds definitions of what our lives should be or how they should look to overshadow and pollute what has always been God's standard for living. And it has never included compromise.
Instead of thinking that we know what He thinks based on our limited experiences, and trust me, just being man limits us already, we need to own up to the fact that we have been trying to excuse our sin and fit in with the world all the while professing to be different than them.
I have noticed so many people who say they want more of God but aren't willing to listen to what He is saying out of fear that what He is asking it too much to give. Too uncomfortable for our liking.
I don't like feeling broken anymore than the next guy, but I have been alerted to my state of being when I take a little break from being totally surrendered, and it is not pretty.
It is like dirty rags dipped in worldly viewpoints and immersed in compromise.
We can paint the water and try and make it smell nicer but the fact that the water is filthy and contaminated won't change.
God is calling and has always called us to more. Not living by the standard of the world around us, but standing out as a beacon of light in a very dark and lost place.
Why then have we insisted on dirtying what He has made clean, dipping our white cloths that we traded in for our dirty ones when we accepted Christ's gift of salvation, for the sake of fitting in with those that we were never meant to fit in with?
In order for me to hear Him more clearly, to live cleanly, I have to get rid of all the dirt that I allow into my life by choice on a daily basis.
I want Him to be the only One that I am listening to, and measuring myself up against.
The only One who guides me into where I need to go next.
I need to be honest and willing to say, "Okay Lord, I don't have it all together. I need Your help. I am weak and I am lost when I think I can do any of this by myself."
I need to be okay with not being okay.
Seeing not having it all pulled together as a good thing because it exposes my great need for Him and my great deficit without Him.
I have felt keenly the words of the prophet, Isaiah.....
"Then I said,
"Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 6:5
I need to be, we need to be, in a state of constant recognition of who we are in light of Who He is.
Not implying that we are to walk around moping and shaking our heads. Or even in torment about how terrible we really are.
We need to be in awe of Him. Every single day. Every moment of those days.
The product of brokenness is wanting to be in pursuit of Him, not in pursuit of what might make us happy and won't last.
I don't ever want to forget my first love.
I don't ever want to live my life for myself.
We as a church, as a body, have deceived ourselves into thinking that we have to be comfortable and happy. We have adopted the worlds viewpoints and made them our own. Shading here and there so we can feel better about them.
I believe that God does want to bless us, that He loves us, and loves to give His children good things.
But I also believe that this is in the context of living a life in complete reverence to Him.
In constant recognition of Who He is.
In moment by moment surrender.
It is in my brokenness and surrender that He is able to move more freely and work not only on my behalf but on the behalf of those around me.
And what this requires... what this means for me... is allowing Him to use my broken and sometimes ugly pieces, and use them for His glory in a world that desperately needs to know that He is the only one who can really fix them at all.
If I am not willing to be broken for Him, admit that I have compromised and chosen what He doesn't want for me, then I will miss out on the very thing that my heart burns for.
I don't know where this will find you today.
I don't even know if this will speak to you at all....
But I have committed myself to be true and honest to the One who is calling me. Who is calling all of us to more.
Truth doesn't always come in pretty packages. But it always comes with confirmation. And my hope is that you will pray for that.
I pray that the truths of God will continue to pierce our hearts and compel us to love and serve Him with more than we have ever sought to love and serve Him before.
My prayer for myself and for that of my family, is that we will take notice of our compromises and make God more important than wanting our own way. More than our own comforts.
Without conforming to the patterns of this world and walking the way they do. In the way that they do it.
I believe that this is a life long decision.
Choosing to love God more than loving ourselves.
And loving others, even those I don't necessarily want to love because of His love for us.
I pray that we all will desire to be more broken than fixed. More vulnerable and willing to admit that the only way that we can reach a lost and hurting world is to not live a life that mirrors theirs. And being willing to feel uncomfortable, even risking making others uncomfortable too, so that God can speak to us and move us in the direction that He has always intended for us to go.
To be the people He has called us to be.
Doing it His way... and not ours.
.... until another tomorrow.
"16For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem." Psalm 51:16-18
"25-32 I'm feeling terrible—I couldn't feel worse!
Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life's dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
God, don't let me down!
I'll run the course you lay out for me
if you'll just show me how.
33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!"
Psalm 119:25-40 The Message Bible
(The New American Standard Bible version is another one of my favorite translations for this portion of scripture.)