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Sunday, April 2, 2017

We don't need that raft any longer

Joyce Meyers reminds us that if "our inner life is not producing what we would like on the outside, don't be discouraged...just be willing to change." It is so easy to get discouraged with our lack of progress or growth, isn't it? We want things to more or less "come to us" or "fall into place" rather than having to work or wait for them. Rarely do good things happen in our lives where there is no investment of either our time, effort, or trust. God is after all of these, so anytime we experience circumstances that seem to be contrary to what we'd have liked, or take too long by our timeline, it might just be he is after one of these!

God is rich in mercy. He brought us to life with Christ while we were dead as a result of those things that we did wrong. He did this because of the great love that he has for us. You are saved by God’s grace! And God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus. God did this to show future generations the greatness of his grace by the goodness that God has shown us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:4-7 CEB)

God if after our willingness to change, not necessarily our independent ability to do so ourselves! He isn't requiring our stubborn will-power, but he is after our admittedly willful pride that keeps us from asking for help. We "try" to grow through what we are going through only to find all the "trying" in this world is really not getting us very far. Our pride doesn't seem like much until it is matched with some of the hardest of circumstances to walk through. This is where we are tested at the level of trust - will it be our own effort we rely upon, or we will reach out to the one capable of revealing the greatness of his grace in our lives?

What we see on the outside often is nothing more than a feeble attempt to cover-up what is really on the outside. We mask our failure with stubborn denial. We over-compensate for our lack of trust by holding onto things acting as little more than weights that hold us down. We delve into word battles far more often than our stubborn pride will allow us to walk away from all because we don't want to admit we could possibly be wrong. We struggle with what is on the inside - not just what we reveal on the outside. At the core of it all is often one of two things - pride or trust. 

We are "redeemed from", signifying we are supposed to let go of what we had once trusted in before. If a shipwrecked sailor, alone on a life raft for 30 days and 30 nights suddenly finds himself in the shadow of a mighty palm tree swaying gently on the shore of a beach, doesn't he have to abandon the life raft to enjoy the freedom of the shore? What we too often do is bring that life raft right up onto shore with us, figuring out 100 different "uses" for it other than to keep us afloat in the sea. Why? We have a hard time trusting our deliverance!

We want stability the moment we enter into this relationship with Jesus, somehow believing everything "wrong" with our inner life will just change. The truth of the matter is that in order to see those things change, we sometimes have to let go of them. We give up stubborn control long enough to see them drift away, no longer something we need or want anymore in our lives. As with the life raft, they "served their purpose" in some former way of living. Now we are called to live in freedom - so why rely upon the old ways of surviving? It is our stubborn pride that keeps us tethered to the old things we trusted in for so long. When we are finally willing to let them go, we might just realize a newfound freedom that begins to reveal itself in some pretty positive and enjoyable ways on the inside, affecting how it is we manifest that change on the outside! Just sayin!