Friday, February 18, 2011

The Truth that Takes a Lifetime

Today, when talking with a friend, I was reminded by him of the simple truth that God is greater than I am.

What a straightforward truth - one that we (of course) learn in Sunday School, and then can move beyond...right?

Maybe not. This is one of those truths that is so simple, and yet which seems to take a lifetime to learn and live. We probably each have those moments when we catch a glimpse of both God's greatness and our relative smallness (seeing the night sky, and having a small sense of the relative sizes and distances does it for me), and perhaps also those moments of conviction and guilt when we see how we have ordered our life around the illusory belief that we - not God - are the ones of ultimate importance. My comfort, my success, my fulfillment are the things I chase after and concern myself with. All my experiences must be bent towards these end goals.

But what a prison we create for ourselves when we are the only ones we pursue! We were intended to be in relationship with the only One of ultimate worth - God - and yet we would turn from His beauty to frantically try to magnify ourselves? We all do it, we all have done it, but by the grace of God in Christ, we have been raised with Christ in order to live a new life. May God in His grace put to death our sin and suffocating self-idolization, and move our hearts to value and praise and glorify the One who is worthy! And what freedom then, as we trust Him to provide for us by His perfect and never-ending grace, in ways we can never provide for ourselves.

LORD, be glorified. (and we can be confident of the fulfillment of this prayer!)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Belong To...

Whose are we?

We often live and operate with the implicit assumption that we belong to ourselves. Our time, our emotions, our entitlement to feeling fulfilled or pursuing our passions...we cling to these rights. We may acknowledge that God wants all of us, but we want to keep something back.


Is this hesitancy to surrender to God perhaps due to our desire to cling to autonomy, security, and safety? In surrender, we give up the right to choose based solely on our own desires, and this can be a terrifying thought.

But let’s reflect on this...

If we claim to believe in the God who formed, who created both the world we live in, as well as our very being and identity, and if we profess that He is good, are we not contradicting our very reasons for autonomy?

We were created to be in a life-giving relationship with God. But when we try to separate ourselves, and to protect some of what we see as “ourselves”—that portion of ourselves we don’t want God to mess with—aren’t we also claiming that God is either not fully good or not fully knowledgeable and powerful? We are claiming that we (part of his own creation, who have been given our faculties by Him) can ultimately care for ourselves better than the One who knit us together, and knows every thought of ours. This makes no sense, and though we are called to use those faculties and abilities to work, we ultimately look to Him for care.

And to expand on this: Is, perhaps, this autonomy we hold to so tightly perhaps ultimately a grand illusion? Like God’s Lordship (He is Lord whether or not we acknowledge Him as such!), isn’t our dependence on God the truth whether or not we acknowledge it as true? If so (and it surely seems to be the case when we follow our professed beliefs to their reasonable conclusions), then we must admit that we are dependent on God for all things whether or not we want to admit it. And it is a hard reality to accept, because it is sometimes hard to trust God even when we give mental assent to these truths.

Trust in God’s goodness—it seems so simple and elemental, but it can be so difficult. But remember that God has already provided us with profound evidence of His trustworthiness, among which are such convictions as His creation of all, and Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection. He is good (for why else would Jesus die for love of the world?) and He is able (for how else could Jesus have risen?).

Let us acknowledge that we are His, and lean on this good and able God!