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Archive for the ‘September 2010’ Category

Hidden

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Gen. 3:8)

But now there is no longer any reason for the believer to hide from God, but we have every reason to hide in Him. Let us depend upon Him like an infant does his parents for shelter, clothing, and nourishment. He is our soul’s refuge; He robes us in righteousness and dresses us in Christ, and He is our Bread of Life and Living Water. Let us come rather than run, for He is good!

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2 Peter 1:1-9 notes

Verse 1 left me perplexed because it says something like, “Through Christ’s righteousness we have received faith” yet it is also true that through faith we have received Christ’s righteousness.

Today’s study pointed out the importance of the knowledge of God. First, because I know Him, grace and peace is mine in abundance (verse 2). Second, through my knowledge of Him I have received everything I need for life and godliness (verse 3). Third, because I know Him I must not only have faith in Him, but add to my faith goodness and ultimately love (verses 5-7).

I need to DO SOMETHING (ultimately learn to love in action and in truth) because of my knowledge of Him, and my knowing Him is precisely what enables me to do good. Focusing on knowing His power and not my own ability puts my faith to action and keeps me from being corrupted by the world, even my own evil desires (verse 4).

For the sake of my own salvation from sin I seek to know God.

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Written to be Read

Lately the Lord has been challenging me to live a life of transparency, at least with the people closest to me. He and my mom are the only ones who know absolutely all there is to know about me, but I sense Him drawing me out day by day. Why am I naturally so afraid?

I know there is definitely a healthy boundary of privacy to keep between my heart and those who may use my personal information to serve themselves at my expense, but what about those who I believe to be trustworthy? Do I take the risk of being real with them?

I do have legitimate reservations to living transparently, but I have been gently informed that simply maintaining a good reputation is not one of them. Naturally, I want to impress others by appearing strong, beautiful, together, whole, and holy. But if I was so good in truth, how deep would Christ’s nails pierce my heart and how high could His cross be seen in my life? Looks like I can’t have my cake and eat it, too. The bigger and better I appear without Him, the smaller He appears within me… yet “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

In beginning to walk my talk, I admit that I am more inclined to maintain a good reputation than to proclaim His good character with my life. Unfortunately, this often means I express my good reputation at the expense of His good character being revealed in me. In other words, instead of desiring to live such a good life that others may see my good deeds and glorify God (1 Peter 2:12), I want to be good to look good myself.

Matthew 6 addresses those who practice good deeds for men rather than for God (v. 5-6). As the passage explains, if my good deeds are done to impress others, that is my only reward. But it is better to store up treasures in heaven, as the passage goes on to say, by being eternally rewarded by God rather than temporarily rewarded by men. For the Christian who disregards this Scripture, “his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor. 3:13-15). As missionary C. T. Studd said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

God is actually better than He appears to be, and I am naturally worse. And He usually looks better in contrast to me, not in comparison (e.g. my weakness demonstrates His strength). Yet instead of Christ using me to make Him look better (i.e. to reveal Him as He is), I try to use Him to make me look better than I am. We are naturally as blind to God’s goodness as we are to our faults. Yet the point of being real is not to be praised or despised by others, but to appear as I am so I can reveal God in me as He is.

I think it is often more effective for others to see God’s goodness in me before they see my goodness in Him. For instance, if I am struggling with sexual impurity, it may be encouraging to hear my Christian sister say, “By God’s grace I am pure.” But it might be more effective if, before she tells me that He has graced her to the point of purity, she confesses God’s faithfulness to her despite her faithlessness to Him. Not only is God’s strength the primary focus, but I could more easily hope and believe in His strength in me because I witnessed His strength in her – strength I may have falsely attributed to her had she seemed like a spiritual giant. Her admitted weakness in herself lets me identify with her, and her confessed strength in God inspires me take her testimony seriously enough to believe it can become my own.

In truth, His good character revealed in me is more important than my good reputation – it’s more important to God, to others, and even to me. It is better to humble myself under the mighty hand of God, that He may lift me up in due time, than for Him to oppose me in my pride (1 Peter 5:6). It is better to bow down because of humility – because I see and confess God as He is and myself as I am – than to fall from my faulty pedestal (Proverbs 16:18). And it is better to be loved for who I am than to be liked for who I’m not.

I am a story, and until others read all my pages can they fully know and appreciate and love me. I am a story worth being told because my Author knew He’d shed much sweat, blood, and tears over me, yet still wrote me. So I am not my own, but His – a unique, beloved story in His book that was ultimately written to express the Great Author’s heart, that He might be fully known, appreciated, and loved.

Out of context, I may not make sense, so I owe it to His glorious anthology to be true to His pen. I owe it to Him to be open. I am a story, and I’ve been written to be read.

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