20 April 2008

Connecting the Dots

Today my pastor preached from Philippians 3:1-11. He unpacked verse 3 "for we are the {true} circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,"(NAS) The entire sermon was encouraging and convicting and verse 3 stuck with me.

Am I trying to place confidence in my own abilities? Is that the cause of my misery? While considering the possibility, this thought occurred to me. I am always prepared for crisis. I am the one you want to know when the hurricane comes, when the earthquake strikes and when your relational world falls apart. If you need to figure out how to get a mountain moved by noon, I am your girl. Why? There is a mechanism within me that works when everyone else seems to seize up. It is not something I set out to accomplish for myself. It is the way God designed me.

I was talking with a group of women at bible study and remarked that I like earthquakes. Now, don't get me wrong, I hate that people get hurt and lose their property, but I love earthquakes. There is no doubt in your mind when you are in the middle of an earthquake that you are at the mercy of Almighty God. There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop the earth from moving. You can have some emergency supplies on hand that may help you survive once the movement stops, but you cannot make it stop yourself.

When I am active in ministry, or dealing with crises, I remember to put my armor on every day. When I am battling, I want my defensive equipment in tip-top shape. I have several emergency kits. I keep one in my car. Some of it is pretty normal- flashlights and the like. Some is pretty specialized. The chance that I will ever need to cut my seatbelt in order to get out of my car is pretty slim, but if I need to, I am ready. I have been carrying a center punch in my vehicles for almost 30 years and I have never had to use one- but I know exactly where to grab it if I do. I wouldn't say, "I have never used this in 30 years, I don't have to take it today." That would defeat the purpose of having it. I have to ask myself, why do I treat being prepared for spiritual matters with less zeal?

The chances that I am going to encounter a spiritual crises, battle or problem is guaranteed. I am in need of the full armor of God each and every day yet, because I haven't been battling or been in crisis, I have let my armor get loose, sloppy and unwieldy. I am not so much counting on my own abilities or putting confidence in my flesh as I am presuming on God's grace and mercy to instantly make me fit for battle. That's kind of like asking for prayer on a mid-term that you haven't studied for- something I used to tell students not to do. When a student asked me to pray for them during exams and confessed they hadn't studied, I would pray that they received the grade they prepared for. And now, here I am, unprepared and unwilling to wait on the Lord. It seems the sin of envy has partnered with the sin of presumption- I must repent. I must continue to ask God to show me my sin and grant me faith to repent.

True faith is grounded upon knowledge. Knowledge carries the torch before faith. There is a knowledge of Christ's orient excellencies. Phil 3: 8. He is made up of all love and beauty. True faith is a judicious intelligent grace, it knows whom it believes, and why it believes. Faith is seated as well in the understanding as in the will. It has an eye to see Christ, as well as a wing to fly to him. - Tomas Watson

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