How Are You Coping?
It can be difficult in these days of turmoil and uncertainty to overcome the fear or foreboding that seems to be increasing. We are living in a world that none of us have seen in our lifetimes. And we all have different ways of coping with the disquiet we feel in our souls and spirits. Some choose to ignore the warning signs, while others give in to the unease and anxiety and become focused on the evil that is admittedly quite evident.
How do you cope? If we call ourselves Christians, we should know several things that are the bedrock of our faith: we are not alone in what the world is encountering; our Savior has made it clear that He will never leave us or abandon us. Therefore, He understands what we are experiencing, and most importantly, He is our way through it. But how many Christians truly believe that? How many will rely on their own efforts or their accomplishments, even though their "works" are proclaimed in His Name?
How many of us still see God as a spiritual "medicine cabinet"... He's the fix for what ails us? How many of us pray endlessly for Him or Jesus to make it all go away -- whatever "it" happens to be [physical issues, fear, poverty, abuse, sadness, emotional pain, etc.]? It's so easy to stay stuck in the lie that God is Sovereign and Love, and love isn't supposed to hurt, so why is He allowing this to happen to me? Or throw a little pride in there and you can convince yourself that after all the "good things" you've done for Jesus or God, you shouldn't have to suffer.
Are We Building Monuments To Ourselves?
After all, you stand out in the Christian crowd; you've got quite a resumé of your efforts that certainly speak to your dedication and devotion to Jesus. And besides, your fellow Christians recognize your desire to be involved in any cause that furthers the will of the Father. That should count for something, right? Yet, there is still something missing; you feel it's not enough, or you don't feel that connection to God that you know you should have; that the Bible talks about.
Could it be that in our desire to represent God to the world, and to point others to Him, we have fallen short in exhibiting His power in us? That, in effect, the world only sees us and our accomplishments and we've failed to show them it is Him [in us] that is responsible for the works? The Amplified version of Philippians 2:12-13 expresses this view so precisely ... "So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure. "
How does it glorify God if what we do in His Name only leaves an impression of who we are? Isn't that merely building a monument to ourselves? I have never written a blog post that I wanted to leave the reader focused on who I am. I've only hoped that I have heard correctly from the Holy Spirit so that everyone who reads this blog comes away with a perspective of God's heart. I've never wanted the comments to be about me, but about what I may have written that stirred someone to share their revelations of our faithful Father and Savior. In fact, my stats for readership would embarrass those who blog for self-recognition; but it's that once every month or two that someone emails me privately and says, "What you wrote today is exactly what I needed!" that has me lifting my hands to Heaven and thanking the Holy Spirit for His counsel on what to write that day.
Whose Fruit Are We Sharing With The World?
To summarize, it is time that we, as obedient followers of Christ, take stock of where we're at ... and where we need to go. We are responsible for rightly representing God and His Kingdom here on earth. We must be honest with ourselves and see where we have been responsible for the state of the world, and where we have aided the causes of Evil by our short-sightedness, our complicity, and our selfishness. It is truth that God has declared His faithfulness in the New Covenant through Jesus, but we have a responsibility in agreeing to receive that covenant.
As Jesus tells us in The Passion Translation of John 15:3-5, The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed [pruned] you. So you must remain grafted into Me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to Mine. I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with Me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from Me you are powerless.
So, I want to encourage each of us [including myself], to be mindful of how our view of our role in the world, our efforts for God and His Kingdom, and how we interact with everyone we come in contact with is so important for reflecting the power of Jesus in us. We can all agree that the world needs a "reset". But it cannot be done through our own power -- no matter how much we think we can do great works in His Name. It is only through His mighty power at work within us, that will accomplish what needs to happen to set this world aright. And it is infinitely more than we might ask or think on our own. And let us declare together that it is all for the Glory of God! Father, let us show the world Your Power in us! Amen!
2 Corinthians 4:7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.