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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What is your why?

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NLT)
What is you "why" for living? If you have been declaring that you just cannot make it any longer in your present circumstances, maybe you haven't tapped into the right "why"! If we are connected to the right "why", we can endure almost anything. Nietzsche wrote in response to a prevalent revelation of a lack of moral compass in the society in which he lived. He is probably most famous for one of his works entitled "God is Dead". In it, he discusses the evidence that society had taken leave of their desire to follow any form of morality at all - seeking all manner of pleasures and openly revealing their desire to have anything at the center of their lives other than God himself. In essence, he was saying when anything other than God is at the center, our "compass" or "way-finding" in life becomes altered and submits to the loudest or most prevalent voice in the crowd. Yet, the ability to endure, to outlast any trial or temptation to succumb to any immoral actions is to keep one's sight and heart firmly fixed on God and nothing else - to have the "why" firmly fixed!
Many times we attempt to "make right" what we have "made wrong" in our lives by "cleaning up our act" a little. If you are like me, you might just find all the "cleaning up" you do is little more than what is accomplished by adding a coat of whitewash to the side of a barn. The storms will come and soon the evidence of what has been concealed by that chalky white coat is washed away and leaves us exposed, complete with evidence of all that "weathered and worn" us that is underneath! For us to have a "why" within is to have a "moral compass" - something that helps us to move out of the place where we just "cover up" our sin in some form of self-help or self-preserving way. It drives us to realize we aren't going to ever be able to "make right" what is truly "wrong" in our lives apart from the application of that which does more than "coat" or "cover over" - grace!
Grace has a way at getting at the roots - it is like nothing else because grace isn't just a whitewash - it is the very essence of God instilled into the place where once only our futile attempts at right living once existed. It is the vibrancy of life renewed, regenerated beyond our capability of "cleaning up". The moment we realize it is the "why" that matters, there is a transformation that occurs - a metamorphosis of sorts. The old is no longer content being covered up - it desires to be reborn. If you have ever seen the work of a skilled craftsman taking the lush woods of yesteryear and restoring them to their original beauty, then maybe you understand just a bit of what it is like to be renewed by God's Spirit. The craftsman doesn't merely put another coat of varnish over the layers already there. He removes all that obstructs the beauty of the wood underneath - dirt, oils, stains, etc. Then he rubs it until it is smooth and the grains become evident. Only when he is satisfied with the revelation of the beauty of the wood does he add the luscious oils of his choosing, enhancing the depth of the grain and bringing forth the magnificence of the color found deep in the wood.
In much the same way, God's grace removes all that hinders the true beauty and "covers over" the depth of the heart's yearning for that true moral compass. In time, as those layers and layers of masked "beauty" are removed, the evidence of his beauty begins to be revealed in the character of the "grain" of our lives. As he becomes the "why" for our living, his beauty begins to shine forth in the evidence of his grace touching each "grain" of our lives. Just sayin!