Friday, October 18, 2013

An Untouched Portrait

I used to think that reading the Bible was enough. I can quote verses about the importance of God's Word, meditating on it day and night, the spiritual sustenance it provides--and that's true, of course. If I set time aside, walked through a passage, prayed about it and took away an application, I was doing well. There's a far deeper level than that.

What I failed to see for so long is now staring back--it's me, myself. Obviously, learning about God is the most important part of Scripture: He is not like us, He is the Creator, the Sustainer. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. In the Bible we connect with Him, learn of and find Him. But the piece we easily overlook in church-world is implanting the Word in our imperfect lives--not just looking at the Word, the mirror, but looking intently at the untouched reflection of ourselves. 

Our words and thoughts agree with God, "It's wrong to lie. It's a sin to cheat. I need to love God with all my heart, mind and soul and love my neighbor as myself." But without the working of the Holy Spirit, I am blind to the lies I tell to make others feel good or how easily I cut corners to get the best deal. Without God's help, I don't see the many ways I love myself and want what I want instead of loving Him. Apart from His working, I gloss over the God-words of the Bible: always, never, every, all, love. Instead, I read Scripture through my best persona, the one I want to be instead of who I really am. In that mode, I look at Scripture with agreement instead of conviction.

Thanks be to God, I am learning to see myself more clearly--the repeated struggles and strengths, tendencies, likes and dislikes. With God's help, I am reminded throughout the day of my failure to obey, to love, to live according to His Word.

The other wonderful thing about pulling Scripture out of the sacred world of church and quiet and into the cesspool of real life is that God's love becomes more full, rich and free; His mercy deeper, His grace miraculous.

Don't be afraid of yourself--God's not. You are who God made you and He promises to accomplish His purpose through you--for His glory. It has been said, "If God predestined you to be conformed to the image of Jesus, just how much change can you expect?" Change. It starts where you are.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.... (John 1:14)

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:8-21)

1 comment:

  1. Our ladies are studding James right now. These were perfect thoughts.The true implanting of His Word and how it should change us and mature us. It should change us in how we handle trials, how we demonstrate our faith through works, how we speak, and how we pray.


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