Tonight as I meditate and rest on the goodness and mercy of God to bear us up in our many infirmities, I am reminded that there is no good thing is us. Holiness is Christ in us…we have no claim to Heaven by any measure of our own goodness. Scripture is clear when it comes to our shortcomings and the overcoming power of God to save. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26). I struggled with sin today…pet sin…that sin as Paul said that so easily besets us. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). This call to lay aside besetting sin and run our race with valor and goodness is not possible without the assistance of the Lord Jesus…but take heart…as impossible as this might seem, especially when dealing with besetting sin, God never issues a command which He is not ready to assist with. We are told in the next verse to fix our eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We cannot possibly war against our sin in our own strength, nor can those such as I make it through the day without the consistent grace and faithfulness of God. There is no good thing in me apart from Christ Jesus. Beloved this should come as good news to you…for recognizing yourself humbly as you truly are before God stops insecurity in its tracks. Have you ever been told you were stupid? I have. After a while, it creates a lie in your heart…you begin to believe such things about yourself…things that others said or made you feel whether intentionally, or carelessly. I remember being called stupid a while ago and began to process it in my mind…well, I suppose I should say the Lord began to help me work through it correctly. I came to this conclusion. “Alright, what if I am? What if the worst, that I keep trying to fight in my mind, is true? So what if you are stupid? The Lord preserves the simple”. Friend, our worth, significance, and effectiveness are not dependent upon the opinions of other people, but even greater than this, they are not dependent upon our own abilities as human beings! God delights in taking the weakest, the smallest…the cowards…the fools… the uneducated…the sick…the outcast…it is these that God has used all throughout history. Paul said of himself “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Now then, we see that not only is His power great enough to overcome our weakness in the flesh as we battle sin, but to overcome every other weakness including physical and psychological infirmity. In our society a preoccupation with self has taken hold, and this has engulfed the church as well. Christianity far too often and surely unintentionally on the part of well-meaning pastors and worship leaders (and very deliberately on the part of the enemy), so that the focus of much of our music and ministry has been on increasing self-esteem, etc. Do not misunderstand me, recognizing your identity in Christ and understanding his calling on your life is certainly important and worth speaking to, but too much a preoccupation with this is unhealthy. We were made in the image of God and he speaks over us things that are much higher and greater than what we could have imagined. He made each vessel with his own hands, whether for honor or dishonor, to fulfill his unique and divine purposes…but greater than being told that we are smart we need to be made to understand that this God who has called us out to spread His glory and His renown is not limited by our inabilities. When Moses protested God and said that He not speak, God did not respond by telling Moses how wonderful he was and how capable…He responded by saying “Who made man’s mouth?” and promised that He Himself would go before Moses and be with Him, and speak for him, then He gave Aaron to help Moses. When God spoke to Gideon, a coward, He called him a mighty man of valor…He spoke into him and over him, and said that Gideon would lead the armies of the living God. What made Gideon capable of this? Did God say it was because he had great leadership capabilities or was skilled in warfare? No. God chose Gideon because he was weak…he was afraid…and through His use of Gideon no one could deny the power of the living God. What about when David slayed Goliath? He certainly didn’t go in His own strength…he was weak and small…and young. He went in the strength of almighty God, and thereby found His confidence. Perhaps what we need more than being told how wonderful we are is that it does not matter who we are…what are weaknesses are…God is mighty above all, and calls out the weak the lead the strong for His glory. I confess here no good in myself, but through Christ, we have the greatest hope of all.
With great love,