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Friday, November 15, 2013

What's your modus operandi?

In charge - has the thought ever occurred to you to consider carefully who might just be "in charge" of your life?  Most of us would say we believe God is in charge of our lives - and we'd be correct in this assumption.  Yet, most of us live as though WE were in charge of our lives!  We don't consult God with our decisions - we make them and then look to him to "back us up" with those decisions.  We get ourselves into "binds" and expect him to bail us out.  At those moments when we are struggling to hold our head above water, we even get to thinking God may have just abandoned us.  Maybe the better perspective for us to have is not that he abandoned us, but that we totally missed out on the fact of his watchful protection over our lives even when WE insisted on being "in charge".  After wallowing for a while in our self-pity because we recognize our "plans" were not all that good, we find ourselves a little "exposed" by our folly, don't we?  Exposure often results in us wanting to "cover up" - we don't want to honestly admit the mess we have made of things, but it is hard not to!

God is in charge of human life, watching and examining us inside and out. We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.  Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance.  (Proverbs 20:27; 21:2-3 MSG)

God has an amazing way of penetrating our hearts.  It is like he has a super-high powered spotlight which just gets into the corners of what we'd rather not admit is there.  The "power" of this "spotlight" actually allows discovery where there is resistance.  This is what "penetration" means - something exerts enough force or strength so as to overcome the resistance it faces. God has a way of doing exactly that - not settling for a glossing over of our inner character just because we are resistant to change.  In fact, God not only "sees into" us - he sees "through us".  This is a good thing since so many of us still like to hide behind our "masks" thinking no one will ever be able to uncover the reality of our shame, guilt, or pride if we do.

Motives are the things which actually cause us to act a certain way.  When our motives are not self-serving, we see the actions as being sacrificial and directed toward the best for another.  When we see our motives are inward directed, we might just see all the actions as a little self-seeking or selfish in nature - the actions serve to satisfy self.  This is why God needs a spotlight - to expose the motives which influence or direct our actions.  Motives are "internal" and there is the need to "unmask" them in order to really get at the heart of what makes us act as we do.

We cannot escape his examination - because without it, he cannot get at what motivates us to act as we do.  Until he gets past our rebellious "crust", he cannot impact our inner character.  The "penetrating" effect of his "light" may not be all that "enjoyable" at times - but it is totally necessary if we are ever to actually recognize his desire to be "in control" of our lives.  When we finally admit we have been in charge - he is free to begin to take control.  He moves from just "bailing us out" all the time to actually keeping us out of the position of being over our heads in stuff in the first place!

When we are young, we rely a lot upon our strength.  When we begin to get a little older, we rely not so much upon our strength as we do upon our wisdom. We have learned a few lessons along the way which help us to "work smarter" instead of "work harder".  I think this is also true in the spiritual sense - we don't rely so much upon our strength to get things done as we do upon the wisdom he gives.  This is when we know we are actually allowing the walls of resistance to his governance of our lives to come down - giving him control.

We may think our ways are right, but God is the best judge of this, not us. We see things with "blinders" on - only allowing a cursory view of what is immediately in front of us.  God has a way of seeing things without the blinders - he knows the peripheral effect of every action and has the greatest opportunity to help us avoid the hazards of what might actually do us harm. There are many who think this Christian walk is about a lifetime of bringing God sacrifices - what it is we DO for him.  Truth is, it is about a lifetime of what God DOES for us, because even the purity of our heart and motives is all because he intervenes to DO the clean up for us!

Our mode of operation is to make hasty decisions - not thought out well, kind of self-centered, and a little bit too close to the edge.  God's mode of operation is to help us learn to wait on his movements - taking the time to plan well, moving beyond our secret rebellion of always wanting to be in control, and then moving further away from the edge and more to the center of where he wants to keep us - right next to his heart.  Just sayin!