July 7, 2011

Playing the Clown Part 2

So I can't get past the life changing message in 2 Chronicles 20 (who would have ever guessed there was such awesome stuff in Chronicles? Who even knows where Chronicles is in the OT?).

To get caught up with this blog, read "Playing the Clown" below. We know that King Jehoshaphat is up against an army he cannot defeat. He cries out to God and makes the statement: "We are powerless against this great horde...we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

God responds: "The battle is not yours but God's...You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf." Wow. I can't get over God's answer. He says in essence, "You can't do it. You will fail. Watch me do my thing."

In The Complete Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford, I read: "If I am to be like Him, then God in His grace must do it; and the sooner I come to recognize it, the sooner I will be delivered from another form of bondage. Throw down every endeavor and say, 'I cannot do it; the more I try, the farther I get from His likeness.' What shall I do? 'Ah', the Holy Spirit says, 'You cannot do it; just withdraw; come out of it. You have been in the arena; you have been endeavoring; you are a failure; come out and sit down; and as you sit there, behold Him, look at Him. Don't try to be like Him, just look at Him. Just be occupied with Him. Forget about tyring to be like Him. Instead of letting that fill your mind and heart, let Him fill it. Look upon Him through the Word. Come to the Word for one purpose and that is to meet the Lord. Not to get your mind crammed full of things about the sacred Word, just come to it to meet the Lord.'"

God wanted to show off to His people. He knew that they could not do anything on their own; only He is self-sufficient. He wanted to prove this to them. So what were they to do during the battle if they weren't going to fight?

2 Chronicles 20:21: "And Jehoshaphat appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise Him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, 'Give thanks to the LORD, for His steadfast love endures forever."

The army simply praised God! And God blessed...He "gave rest all around".

I love this story because it proves what I know intellectually, but need to be reminded of emotionally. I can do nothing. I am simply a branch. I need to once and for all own my position as resting in the Vine (John 15). The Vine gives the nutrients. The Vine causes the growth. The Vine protects, sustains, and fortifies. The Vine does all the work. I sit there and glean. I praise. I show off the Vine's glory by producing the fruit the Vine gives. I just am because I am a part of the Almighty I Am.


July 6, 2011

Playing the Clown

Why is it so hard for me to accept that God does not need me? I mean, over the past three weeks I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get things done. I am exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually...emphasis on the emotional.

There is nothing wrong with being busy. Business is a part of life. But my "business" is self-inflicted as a way to find identity. Let's backtrack here for a second...

June 10th: I lose my job (I asked for a part-time position, they don't have any available...bummer).
June 12-15th: I go to the beach with my husband.
June 16th-19th: I clean and organize at home.
June 20th: I jump both feet into a new job.
June 21-24th: I eat, drink, and sleep this new job.
June 25th till now: I have tried to juggle being a pastor's wife, business woman, heath nut, family person, and a believer. I am a bad juggler. I am exhausted.

Honestly, the downhill spiral effect happened after I lost my job. I placed my identity, my confidence, and my pride in my job. No job. No identity. Insert downward spiral. Pathetic, but true (and it sucks that the way that I process is by writing...now all of you know my secret battles. Crap).

You know you are placing your identity in something/someone other than Jesus Christ if you are playing a clown at a circus and juggling. God never meant for us to "juggle" our lives. What is that verse in Matthew 11:28? "My yoke is easy and my burden light." Nothing in there about juggling, anxiety, exhaustion. Just "easy" and "light". Must be nice.

In 2 Chronicles 20, I read that King Jehoshaphat (crazy name) is in a war that he knows he will not win...on his own. He turns to God and cries out for help: "You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You...We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You." Wow. To have the courage that Jehoshaphat had to admit that he was nothing apart from God...

Here is God's response: "Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's...You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you."

I love that word "tomorrow". Why? Because today and the past few weeks I have skrewed up. I have thought that God needed me...because I need to be needed. Feel me? I have so many fears and insecurities that I try to temper by being needed, which in my mind is a sure way to evade abandonment. Then I read this by A.W. Tozer: "This truth [that God is self-sufficient and needs no-one], while a needed rebuke to human self-confidence [ouch], will when viewed in its Biblical perspective lift from our minds the exhausting load of mortality and encourage us to take the easy yoke of Christ and spend ourselves in Spirit-inspired toil for the honor of God and the good of mankind. For the blessed news is that the God who needs no one has in sovereign condescension stooped to work by and in and through His obedient children...In the meanwhile our inner fulfillment lies in loving obedience to the commandments of Christ and the inspired admonitions of His apostles. 'It is God which worketh in you.' He needs no one, but when faith is present He works through anyone."

Why faith? Because I have to have faith that God is going to come through for me. Unbelief, Tozer says, is a deadly sin because I am believing in myself, not God. Do I really believe God has got this...whatever the "this" may be in my life at any given time? If so, I will allow Him to dictate my day ("Spirit-inspired toil for the honor of God") and I will be freed up to love and to serve other people ("the good of mankind").

Rest: a word so foreign to me, but the obvious mark that a person has surrendered to the Self-Sufficiency of God and has placed all faith in the fact that God is sovereign and can be trusted and will come through for those Who wait on Him.

Okay...time to put my money where my mouth is. Clown make-up is coming off.