Friday, September 17, 2004

How to make God cry in one easy lesson

I’m finding it a little hard to get started at the moment, I’m extremely over-tired and a little fuzzy around the edges. I’m wondering to myself why I’m starting this way but even as I’m wondering the answer is coming. I’m a real person. I have periods of time when things go really well and I feel like I’m on the right track and I have periods of time when I feel like I can’t get anything right no matter what I do. When I am in this kind of spot it is easy for me to believe lies and get into that self-pity thing I spoke about last week. Here’s a few vignettes that will help to illustrate where I’m going, hang in there.

1. Due to things that are happening in my husband’s life I was kind of bummed out that I was going to have to give up a wonderful opportunity to get out of the house and work on my scrapbooks. Because of a glitch in the plan – I immediately aborted the whole idea and evening until my good friend pointed out that quite possibly I could just come late. Hadn’t thought of that. Can’t have it the way I want it, then I might as well just toast the whole plan.
2. My boy wants to ride his scooter to school. After contemplating the risks of taking the prized scooter to school he decided he will do it…until mom reminds him of one little detail. No kneepads, no scooter. He hates the kneepads. Begged for ‘em, got ‘em, won’t wear ‘em. Has he hurt his knees numerous times? Yes! Will he wear the pads? No! Did he ride his scooter to school? No, because he so badly did not want to wear the kneepads he suddenly decided that he didn’t want to ride his scooter after all. That response really ticked me off. He would rather give up his heart’s desire than to strap on that little bit of plastic around his knees. He would rather risk damaging his knees permanently than look ‘uncool’ in his gear.
3. I have some friends who would like to get started in ministry but the fear of rejection has put them in a place time and again where they won’t go forward.
4. Because I’m feeling sorry for myself I don’t ask for the help I really need and give up some great opportunities, assuming of course, that no one wants to help, yadda, yadda, yadda…

Have you seen the common thread? Have you figured out what makes God cry? Here’s one more illustration right from the Bible, Jeremiah 13. God tells Jeremiah to go buy a new loincloth, to wear it, then bury it, leave it and then to go and dig it up again. The loincloth is of course soiled, mildewed and falling apart, completely useless. God tells Jeremiah that He wants to be as close to His people as a loincloth (or underwear as we call it) is to our bodies. That is a very intimate picture of God’s desire for closeness, intimacy and relationship with us. However, God says, His people have followed the stubbornness of their hearts and in the same way that the linen cloth was ruined, so He will ruin the pride of Israel. God’s heart breaks over our pride, our refusal to submit to His will, or to the Lordship of Christ or those who He has put in places of authority (if you don’t like that word – try ‘those who we have given the right to speak into our lives’). Jeremiah 13:17 says, “But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.” Don’t make God cry. Bend your stubborn heart to His desires. Listen to His heart for you. He longs to be as near to you as your underwear is right now. The result of giving into pride is captivity, uselessness, ruin and being cast away from him like a filthy rag. Whatever is making you hang on to your pride is not worth the consequence that awaits. Yield.
copyright, 2004, Lani Wiens, a fresh flowers original

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