Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Today’s Topic: Contrasts
Today’s Text: Isaiah 66:1-2 (NIV) This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Two weeks ago I attended the annual Pastor’s Conference at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. As is typical of me when I go to such events, I take lots of notes. I especially like to write down quotes I hear. One of them came from Crawford Loritz as he spoke on handling the pressures of life.
He told a story that resonated with my heart. It revealed the typical ways we respond to pressure. Sometimes we expend exceptional amounts of energy trying to resolve the things that are causing the pressure to build. Other times we go into full-blown performance mode and overcome the pressurized attacks on or worth by accomplishing bigger and better things. At times we even attempt bigger and better things for God and call it faith, when in reality it is nothing more than a self-serving attempt to re-establish the baseline of our personal value.
But then it happens – the bottom falls out. Everything goes wrong. All of our best efforts are destroyed, and we fall flat on our faces as the problems pile up around us. How could God allow this to happen? Where is He in my time of need?
Then Dr. Loritz said this – On my way to accomplishing something, God is working so I will become something.
You see, being is more important to God than doing. Who we are matters more than what we do. In fact, are we really capable of doing anything that matters apart from what God is doing in us and through us?
The prophet Isaiah spoke of it here in the first two verses of chapter sixty-six. God does not esteem the one who thinks He can accomplish great things. After all, what can we really accomplish? Has not God done it all? The one God esteems is the one who is becoming the reflection of His love and grace – the one who is humble and broken (contrite) and lives in reverential awe of God.
FREEDOM! That’s the shout of my heart at that moment of recognizing that God no longer requires my accomplishments, but honors my brokenness. It is in my weakness that He is proved to be strong and mighty. It is in a simple vessel of clay that God has placed the eternal treasure of His glory (2 Corinthians 4:7). Let the pressures come. Let the cracks be exposed. As Stuart Briscoe said, The more cracks that develop simply allow more of the light of God’s glory to shine through.
That’s the contrast between life in the flesh and life in the Spirit. We are either on the way to accomplishing something, or we are watching to see how God works so we will become something.
I know which one I choose!