pursuing happiness and the worst thing that can ever happen

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“Most people spend their lives trying to make their heart’s fondest dreams come true. Isn’t that what life is all about — ‘the pursuit of happiness’? We search endlessly for ways to acquire the things we desire, and we’re willing to sacrifice much to achieve them. We never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us … If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope and happiness that only God himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts.” (Tim Keller)

Anything we pursue, apart from love in a relationship with the God who made us, will eventually break our hearts. And it’s sad to have our hearts broken.

But there’s something even worse.

The worse would be this: to not have our hearts broken. To sacrifice and achieve and acquire the things we desire and then to be content with the counterfeit meaning and hope we find there. To be content with temporary satisfaction — apart from God. The worst thing that could ever happen would be that our heart’s fondest dreams come true and we become content apart from God, and God does nothing to stop us.

So, yes, it is sad to acquire our heart’s desire and then have that thing let us down. But to not have God break our hearts with dissatisfaction over that substitute happiness we worked so hard to acquire is infinitely worse. To pursue our fondest dreams, and acquire those dreams, and then never have God wrench us away from the counterfeit is the worst that can happen.

For that =

Being left alone. Left to our own devices.

Being allowed happiness with the substitute.

Being allowed contentment with the lesser.

That = eternal tragedy.

So when your heart’s deepest desire becomes yours and then fails to deliver and you feel as though your heart will break, rejoice. Deep within your spirit, rejoice! He caused the substitute hope and happiness to fail. He didn’t pass you by as you endlessly searched for and acquired what you were sure would make you happy. You can experience deep joy because He didn’t leave you alone. He cared enough to break your hold on that created thing, and with the psalmist you can gratefully cry:

“…let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” (Psalm 51:8)

Father, don’t pass me by. Heart or bones — or whatever it takes — break what must be broken when I search for meaning or hope or happiness apart from You.

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asking in Jesus’ name

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You may be like me and you’ve wondered what Jesus meant when He said:

“…I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)

Jesus says that He’s leaving, and that in His absence the disciples are to ask the Father in His name, and that what they ask will be done. I understand most of that. But “ask in my name” is a phrase I don’t use very often. So I need a good definition:

Asking in the name of another means that the other authorized me and sent me to ask, and wants to be considered as asking himself; he wants the favor done to him.” (Andrew Murray, 1828-1917)

A visual to help

As I think about Murray’s definition, I imagine that “asking in the name of another” might look something like this: A prince leading his battalion on a faraway battle field sends, and authorizes, a loyal soldier to go and ask his father, the king, for more troops. He says to the soldier, “Go and ask my father, in my name, for what I believe is needed to win this battle.”

Arriving at the castle, the loyal soldier has no right in himself to ask anything of the king, but because he’s been authorized to ask in the name of, in the place of, for the prince, he enters the throne room boldly. The prince, he says, would like the requested favor done to him, for him. The soldier hasn’t dreamed up what to request, and he doesn’t request what he himself might like. He requests only what his lord, the prince, would if he were standing there himself. He’s been authorized to speak in his place, in his lord’s name, and his request is to be considered as if it’s coming from the prince himself.

He comes as a loyal soldier, with the authority and wishes of the prince, and asks the father to act on his request because he’s asking according to the will of the son. He asks what the prince would ask. And so, in the end, the king receives the honor and glory due his mighty name. As he honors the prince’s request spoken through his soldier, the  father’s greatness and care shine through.

That visual helps me.

But how do I request what Jesus would?

Just how do I discern what my Lord would request? It’s here that John Piper helps. Praying “in Jesus’ name” means that I:

  1. Pray for Jesus’ fame and not my own (so I don’t ask from vain or selfish desires)
  2. Pray because of Jesus’ divine worth, not my own (meaning, I let Jesus’ worth shape and filter all that I ask for as I come to the Father in His name)
  3. Pray on the basis of the payment Jesus made on the cross (I come to God as a little child resting in the “yes!” of all God’s promises made on the basis of Jesus’ death for me — no other angles for trying to get to God are allowed)
  4. Pray according to God’s sovereign wisdom, which Jesus prayed for regularly …”not my will but Thine be done.” I then know I’ll be given all I need to walk in the works He’s prepared for me to walk in (Eph. 2:10). (For John Piper’s short video that these points are taken from, link here).

“For me it is absolutely essential that my prayers be guided by, saturated by, and sustained and controlled by the word of God…if you open the Bible, start img_2665reading it, and pause at every verse and turn it into a prayer, then you can pray all day that way.” (John Piper)

So. When I pray, I ask, in Jesus’ name — not just as a tacked-on phrase at the end of my prayer. I try to pray what God has said He wants for His people: so I read the Bible, or I remember a verse, and as I pause, you come to mind. Or you and your current need comes to mind, and I ask God to remind me of scripture that applies. I then pray for you, guided by the Word, asking that the Father would be glorified in the Son as He works out what is best for you, and through you, in your current need.

Like the soldier, I want my Prince to get all the fame and glory. I come to my King because He told me I could and should. And just as the Prince would have if he were actually speaking, I request with the heartfelt attitude of “but you know best, Father, and I fully bow to whatever you choose in this matter.”

Related: How can I know what to pray?

Windsor Castle, Paul Sandby (1731-1809)

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Do you want to know who you are?

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“If you believe in Jesus and you rest in Him, then suffering will relate to your character like fire relates to gold. Do you want to know who you are – your strengths and weaknesses? Do you want to be a compassionate person who skillfully helps people who are hurting? Do you want to have such a profound trust in God that you are fortified against the disappointments of life? Do you want simply to be wise about how life goes?

Those are four crucial things to have – but none of them are readily achievable without suffering. There is no way to know who you really are until you are tested. There is no way to really empathize and sympathize with other suffering people unless you have suffered yourself. There is no way to really learn how to trust in God until you are drowning.

But God is with us in the fire. He knows what it’s like to live through the miseries of this world – He understands. He is near, available to be known and depended upon within the hardship. He walks with us, but the real question is – will we walk with Him? If we have created a false God-of-my-program, then when life falls apart we will simply assume He has abandoned us and we won’t seek Him.” (Tim Keller)

I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.

(Isaiah 43:1-5)
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Are there really any certainties?

image001I don’t understand how airplanes stay in the sky. I don’t understand how a needle runs around a record’s surface and then sound, exactly like the original recorded sound, comes out. I don’t understand how ants know to walk in a line, or how salmon know exactly where to return for spawning. I don’t understand 1/1,000,000th of the mysteries of this world. In a life so complicated, are there really any certainties? Are there any things that are sure?

Yes. There are. There are things spoken by God, who does not vacillate or lie, who doesn’t hedge His bets or make things up as He goes along. And as His beloved child, no matter today’s feeling or fear or frustration, you can rest on His spoken sureties. His certainties.

Here are five never-changing, base-your-life-on-them truths. As you read them, slow down. Make the words, which at first glance might seem impersonal, personal. For instance, #1, personalized, would read, “God has spoken to me, and the Bible is His Word, given to me to make me wise unto salvation.”  #2 would read, “God is Lord and King over me; He rules all the things that happen in my life for His own glory…so that I, along with angels might worship and adore Him.”

Personalize J.I. Packer’s five certainties, thinking, as you read, about how to apply them to your life:

1. God has spoken to man, and the Bible is his Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.
2. God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
3. God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
4. God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it, and the Spirit applying it.
5. Godliness means responding to God’s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This and nothing else is true religion. 
(J.I. Packer, Knowing God)

Store these things that are sure, these certainties, in your mind and heart. Ask God to “open your eyes to see the wonderful truths in His instructions” (Psalm 119:18), and to give you steely determination to see and live your life, no matter your day’s feeling, fear or frustration, in the light of His Word.

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Are you eagerly waiting?

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…so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Heb. 9:28)

You’ll only eagerly wait when you see Jesus as more beautiful. More beautiful than all the beautiful objects you keep trying to convince yourself will satisfy you.

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When you start to harbor bitterness

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Below-the-surface bitterness will eat you up, boil over from within you, burn you. Like fissures in the ground; like volcanoes.

You must not harbor it.

But if we’re not to harbor it, what are we to do? We’re to forgive. Forgive? But forgiveness hurts deeply. Forgiveness feels like the opposite of my natural, self-protective stance. Forgiveness is scary.  Forgiveness feels so hard.  Forgiveness is a miracle of His grace. Yes. It is.

“…Actually no one who has been deeply wronged ‘just forgives’! If someone wrongs you, there are only two options: (1) you make them suffer, or (2) you refuse revenge and forgive them and then you suffer. And if we can’t forgive without suffering, how much more must God suffer in order to forgive us? If we unavoidably sense the obligation and debt and injustice of sin in our soul, how much more does God know it? On the cross we see God forgiving us, and that was possible only if God suffered. On the cross God’s love satisfied his own justice by suffering, bearing the penalty for sin. There is never forgiveness without suffering, nails, thorns, sweat, blood. Never.” (Tim Keller)

Yes, as your Lord suffered with sweat and blood, the deep wrong committed against you may not be casually and easily “just forgiven.” But, by the supernatural work of the Spirit, you can, when you sense yourself beginning to battle inner bitterness, pray to “cut the legs out from under bitterness and low-boiling anger.” I’ve found this short video helpful: How do I forgive someone who refuses to say sorry? Pray, as you watch and listen. Pray to be able to understand, and to obey God’s best for you. His ways are foreign to your natural ways.

But you’ve been recreated for His way; for entering into “strange and foreign grief on behalf of another person.” For forgiveness. For refusal of revenge or harbored bitterness. For refusal, even though you suffer.

“Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13)

Painting: Volcano, by Lionel Walden (1861-1933)

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How do I help my child choose a career?

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How do I help my children choose a career?  As they move toward finishing high school, how do I guide them toward a college major, a career, or an employer? How do I counsel wisely at such critical moments? And how, especially, do I honor the Lord as I guide them into new, unknown territory?

How do you and I, as Christ-followers, sort through the world’s sometimes right, but usually subtly wrong, and often blatantly wrong, answers to these important questions?

For the world tells us to discern our own life direction, and help our children choose and discern theirs, by answering the following sets of questions (ones I now realize, with conviction, I’ve used in counseling my own children).

From Darren Maxfield’s “A Strategic Time”:

  • Do your skills match up with the requirements of the job?
  • What type of income will you earn in this field?
  • Is this a stable career choice or will there be major changes coming?
  • Will you be able to provide for a family, buy a nice house, live in a nice neighborhood?
  • What are your friends doing?
  • Will you live up to your parent’s expectations?

“I think I could make the argument that all those questions are irrelevant when determining how best to serve Christ in His ever expanding Kingdom…

These questions and the mindset behind them often lead to living for self, materialism and keeping up with the Joneses. It is so easy to get caught up in the “security” that a job, bank account, and a normal middle class life offer. IMG_4277The pursuit becomes maintaining that “security” and the “glory that comes from man.” (John 12:43)

…We pursue wealth and possessions. We are killing ourselves establishing a career and a reputation. How often do we consider why we are doing this? Are we truly serving our Master or are we serving mammon? Should we not instead ask questions like:

  • How can I use my gifts and talents to serve God and His Kingdom?
  • I know the harvest is ripe and the laborers are few, so how can I be a laborer for Christ?
  • Does a large bank account really provide security?
  • When will my retirement account begin to look like barns built to store grain so we can say: “relax, eat, drink, be merry?” (Luke 12:19)
  • Does being a Christian in the workplace only mean seek out opportunities to share your faith with your co-workers?
  • What does it mean to love my life and to hate my life in this world so that I may keep it for eternal life? (John 12:25, Matthew 16:24-26)
  • How much do I value the glory that comes from man rather than the glory that comes from God? (John 12:43)
  • What does living a life of risk look like in the Kingdom of God?

I can’t answer any of these questions on your behalf. Only you can as you pray and immerse yourself in God’s Word. But I can tell you that the world is trying to deceive you…

There is so much more to life that keeping up with the Joneses. What a waste of time, effort and life! God calls us to so much more. The Lord calls us to serve Him and He will make it clear where He wants us to be. But too often we succumb to the pressures of this world and those around us. When I look at Facebook and I see what we are spending our money on, how we spend our time and what we treasure in our hearts (Matthew 6:21), and the things that make us speak up about something — I’m a bit sickened.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

I challenge you to take a risk. Risk your life that God will provide in ways you cannot imagine. Trust that Jesus is greater than the treasures of this world.” (From In the Shadow of Mount Adams, Darren Maxfield’s blog. Maxfield and his family serve as missionaries to the Yakama Indian Reservation, WA)

Jesus is greater than the treasures of this world. You and I believe that. But do we, even in subtle ways, counsel our children as if pursuing wealth, possessions and security are most important? Do we?

golden coins

Related: What do I want for my child?

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freed from always noticing yourself

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“Christian humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less… It is to be no longer always noticing yourself and how you are doing and how you are being treated…

Humility is a byproduct of belief in the gospel of Christ. In the gospel, we have a confidence not based in our performance but in the love of God in Christ (Rom. 3:22-24). This frees us from having to always be looking at ourselves. Our sin was so great, nothing less than the death of Jesus could save us. He had to die for us. But his love for us was so great, Jesus was glad to die for us.

…the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it…is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself…The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.” (Tim Keller)

Painting: The Reflection, by Edouard Gelhay, 1856

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suffering with hope and courage, not bitterness and despair

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“Christianity does not provide the reason for each experience of pain, but it does provide deep resources for actually facing suffering with hope and courage rather than bitterness and despair.” (Tim Keller)

Remember His words to you, dear Christian. Words of truth for you, His child, when you face suffering. Words to remind you of reasons for hope and courage while still in the middle of experiences that naturally cause pain. Words, not meant to provide the exact reason for your experience of pain, but meant to turn you from bitterness and despair — to fortify you, to remind you that He is in charge and He purposes good from it all:

“…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:2-5)

Suffering yields endurance, and that endurance yields Christlike character, and that Christlike character yields unstoppable hope that does not disappoint. How so? Because, through it all and in it all, He pours the knowledge of His overflowing love for you into your heart by His Spirit.

Bitterness and despair can melt away. Bitterness and despair can be replaced by true hope and supernatural courage as you run to His arms. As, in His arms, you hear this: “Dearest child, I love you with forever love, and I’m not unaware of your pain. I have good purpose for you in it all.”

Oh, run there today.

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Does your faith feel really comfortable?

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“If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” 

Your all is called for.

We each give our all to something.

Don’t settle for a life filled with comfortable, self-stroking somethings — the kind of somethings that call nothing out of you. For anything worth living for and worth dying for is not going to feel comfortable.

Why exactly, then, would you expect Christianity to make you feel comfortable?

“And [Jesus] said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?'” (Luke 9:23-25)

Don’t squander your life yearning for ease! Instead, set your heart and mind toward losing your life for His sake. Each morning, each noon, each night. For when the next life begins and you arrive there, you’ll only wish that you’d followed more closely, and loved Jesus more dearly, and lost your grip on your own pleasant plans, for His sake, more decisively.

Don’t settle for the life of comfortable somethings. It’s really not life at all.

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Beginning quote: C. S. Lewis in God in the Dock

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the embarrassment that matters

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“…we cannot escape the embarrassment of standing stark naked before God. It is of no use for us to try and cover up like Adam and Eve in the garden. Our attempts at self-justification are as ineffectual as their fig leaves. We have to acknowledge our nakedness, see the divine substitute wearing our filthy rags instead of us, and allow him to clothe us with his own righteousness.” (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, commenting on Rev. 3:17-18)

“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen…” (Revelation 3:14-19)

He has provided the way: Acknowledge your nakedness, gaze upon Jesus wearing your rags, and come to Him. Allow Him to clothe you, today, with His white garments, with His own righteousness.

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strength for weary pilgrims

“Look at the starry sky—Jesus strewed it with its jewelry…

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Look at that enchanting landscape—Jesus enamelled it with its loveliness…

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Look at that cloud-capped mountain—Jesus reared it…

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Look at that beauteous lily—Jesus painted it…

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Look at that soaring bird—Jesus feeds it…

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He, with whom is all this strength and beauty, is your Brother! Are you not better and dearer to Him than these? He has loved and chosen you from all eternity, ransomed you with His blood, and inhabited you by His Spirit.

Why, then, these fears? Why this distrust? All He requires of you is to bring to His fullness your emptiness—to His sympathy your grief—to His unerring wisdom your confusion—and to His sheltering wing your temptations and trials.

Spread your case before Him in the humble confidence of a child. Listen to His words—”I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt: open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Christ’s Sympathy to Weary Pilgrims, by Octavius Winslow (1808-1878))

Father, today I feel myself a weary pilgrim. Please hold and keep me. Give me the ability to spread my grief before your sympathy; my emptiness before your fullness; my confusion before your wisdom. This trial tempts me toward hiding and despair; toward fear. Draw me to you! Give me a heart that runs to your sheltering wing, that comes as a trusting child pouring out my all before you. Jesus, dearest Brother, I need to hide in your comfort and find strength in your care. In my weariness, O Lord, show me you.

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not exceeding our capacity to receive it

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“The Lord did not come to make a display…For one who wanted to make a display the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders. But He who came to heal and to teach the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according as they could bear it, not vitiating (blemishing or spoiling) the value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it.” (On the Incarnation by Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373))

Athanasius’s 4th century sentences keep running through my mind. My modern interpretation of his long-ago phrases goes like this: The Lord didn’t arrive to dazzle and then disappear, leaving us blown through and blown over and bewildered. He sure could have. Instead, He lived among us, and revealed and explained Himself as we could bear it. He even put Himself at our disposal.

If I dazzle and then disappear, I’m all about me; but if I put myself at your disposal, I’m all about you.

When I think on these beautiful thoughts — on God’s kindness in His appearing, and on His choosing, for our good, to not exceed our capacity to receive it — my heart leaps. How good and kind is our Lord! For He could have squashed us with His power and otherness. Instead, He didn’t overpower. He disclosed what we could bear.

Athanasius’s words also remind me of another set of words — of Mary’s words, which she speaks as she arrives at Elizabeth’s home. Elizabeth exclaims that Jesus, within Mary’s womb, is the Lord, and with humility and joy, Mary responds:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Luke 1:46-47, 49

When I think of the Lord choosing not to exceed our ability to receive his appearing, and in so doing, not spoiling the value of His Divine appearing, one thing happens: My heart leaps with the same awe Mary’s, Elizabeth’s, John’s, and Athanasius’s did. My spirit rejoices in God our Savior! He who is mighty has done great things for us, and holy is His name. Oh, the goodness and the kindness of our God!

17 centuries later

And one last thought: Today, if I feel blown through and blown over and bewildered by circumstances beyond my control, I’m to lean into my Lord. He will not squash me with His power. He will disclose what I can bear, and will not exceed my capacity to receive it.

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Painting: Pool of Siloam by James Tissot

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throwing ourselves into His arms

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On days when you waken and can’t shake a sense of despondency; when you’re disheartened, or sad, or crestfallen — throw yourself into His arms:

“We please God most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything — and still loves us.” (A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963)

He has not moved or changed. You are still loved. Loved with an everlasting, open-armed love. An invincible love. Today, in your heart and mind and spirit, throw yourself there.

“There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.”

Deuteronomy 33:26-27

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spiritual pathways and the call to submission

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There’s an uncomfortable situation you’ll have to face when you desire to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:1-2). When pathways of spiritual change begin to be cut into your being because you’re more and more seeing Jesus as beautiful, and you’re choosing to turn from your old ways, and your mind is being transformed through the Word by the Spirit, and you’re choosing the way of the cross — it’s then that the ways you’re choosing will seem foolish to those who don’t know the Lord. They’ll call your decisions foolish. They’ll call you foolish. Don’t be surprised. Understand what God tells you ahead of time:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.””

Your choices as you follow the way of the cross will be seen as foolish. God set it up that way.

“…Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (I Corinthians 1:18-25)

Know this, though: God’s words to us in I Corinthians aren’t meant to explain why He’s set it up that way. He’s not even necessarily meaning to help us feel better when we’re called foolish because we want to follow the path of a crucified Savior. His words in I Corinthians are meant to awaken within us something better:

“Instead of a persuasive explanation, this passage is a call to submission. Paul says, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” In order for us to be saved we have to give up on the idea that we are wise. We have to give up on the idea that we know what is best…Jesus Christ, dying on the cross, and then giving the message of the Gospel to a bunch of fishermen, is the wisdom of God. Sending out men and women all across the world to places where they do not even speak the same language, is the wisdom of God. And God specifically chose this way of salvation, in part, because he knew that it would look foolish. He knew that our proud hearts would want to reject it. And therefore, the only way to accept it is to be humbled. The only way to be saved is to trust God, to believe that he knows what he is doing, and to believe that he knows better than us. And if you resist this idea of submission, and do not find yourself drawing closer to God, do not be surprised. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).” (full quote at http://haretranslation.blogspot.com)

In uncomfortable situations, we tend toward defensiveness. We fight back (in our hearts and minds if not out loud). Or we become angry — at God. “God, I’m trying to be renewed by the transforming of my mind; I’m trying to not conform to this world; and now, though, I’m being called foolish. Your ways make me feel so uncomfortable!”

But Christianity is not a call to comfortable.

Christianity is a call to submission: a call to believe that God knows what he is doing, and that he knows better than us. Christianity is a call to something better than the comfort our old pathways would call us toward.

We’re called to the place of dependence in all things — in those that make sense, and in those that don’t. For He is completely good. His ways are always perfect. So foolishness? Yes. But we submit. Discomfort? Sure. But we submit.

We submit and we trust.

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