Sunday, November 22, 2015

Just Like Eve

How easily we miss the big picture.

How quickly it destroys us, and it hurts the heart of the God we say we love.

I've been reading And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh for a class, and one chapter talked a lot about the biblical parable of the pearl of great price. Gresh emphasized the devotion needed to give up every lesser thing to obtain the pearl, the greatest thing.

I began to think of lesser things in my life. Ironically, though I knew they were lesser, they were some of the things that were most important to me.

To my shame, I began to mentally argue with God.

"They aren't bad things!"

"Why would you ask me to give that up or re-evaluate it?"

Can you see the point I missed? Think about it! What did I miss?

In surrendering the things I love to God, He gives me something better. Something beyond anything I have. In surrendering my sin, He gives me salvation. When I surrender my desires and plans, He gives me a life that honors Him and brings me joy and fulfillment.

I'm no different than Eve. She lived in a garden with all the wonderful things she could ever need, she had a perfect relationship with her husband, and she had an unbroken relationship with God Himself. Yet instead of being thankful and content with all she had, she became fixated with the one thing she was not allowed to have. She decided God wasn't right to keep it from her. She decided she was wise enough to make her own choice and disobey God.

In Eve's story I see myself. I run to trees God has told me to avoid and ask, "Why not this tree?"

I can imagine a response from the Lord. "Why that dangerous tree when I have given you so many good trees to enjoy?"

When I choose the forbidden over the gift, I take marred happiness instead of joy.

I choose temporary pleasure over lasting fulfillment.

I chase destruction and evade restoration.

I cling to wounds and refuse healing.

Don't mistake my meaning. I'm not suggesting that if I give God all my money, He'll give me more. That's not the kind of blessings I'm talking about at all here. I'm just making one statement about God's goodness.

God gives to His children above and beyond anything He takes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It Dies Today

I see it fading. My heart is torn between disappointment and glad acceptance.

A selfish dream of my heart fades. Its absence confuses me. It has been a part of me so long that I almost can't imagine myself without it.

I will never be strong.

How many times have I fought and worked to be a strong person? At my core, I wanted to be the girl who could take every hit and still get back up. I thought I could find enough fight in me to keep myself going. I shouldn't need anyone. I shouldn't ever be overwhelmed or past my abilities. I craved control.

And I can't have it.

Because I am weak. I read God's Word and I see it. I'm a sinner (Romans 8:28) who doesn't even understand the mess of her own heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Jesus's statement in the garden of Gethsemane seems to describe me: "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). I see these truths in my life. My failures and sins clearly demonstrate that I am unable to overcome.

What good is a weak person, one who is saved but still unable to handle her own life?

Apparently ... that's just the person God tends to use.

"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence" (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Why is weakness such fertile ground for God to work? Because it shows that He is the One doing the work. And He does the work.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

My own strength is utterly insufficient. When I try to rely on myself, I only end up disappointing myself, others, and God.

But when I allow Him to work through me, then I can obey every command He gives.

So in the end, I will never be strong.

But I will have strength.

It just won't be mine.