Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Inadequacy

I've been thinking a lot over the last few days about the concept our my own inadequacy. Last week was very difficult, as I believe I've mentioned. What I haven't gone into is the reasons why. There are several: my own exhaustion, spiritual attack both from my own flesh and from the demonic realm, and last (but most definitely most important) God allowing me to witness certain things about myself so that He could be better glorified. Namely, to witness the utter weakness and inadequacy of my own strength, to witness the utter fallenness of my flesh and to see the consequences of thinking that anything of myself is of worth or has any righteousness without His redeeming and restorative work in my heart.

I feel I have to preface my elaborated thoughts on this by directing you to this post of mine from a few months ago, when I really hit a brick wall in certain areas, a wall that God eventually used for great good and great growth in my life. I was consumed at the time with the futility of my own actions, and obsessed with my inadequacy to be effective in the lives of those around me. It was, however, an extremely self-focused consumption with the idea of my own inadequacy. Essentially, my inability to achieve my goals frustrated me because it was hindering me from getting what I wanted. Notice the focus there? I, me, and mine. The Holy Spirit was at that time able to get it through my head that I couldn't get it for myself, but it took a bit longer for me to finally hear Him saying that I needed to want what He wanted, and to stop striving after my own ambitions, be that in the context of relationships (friendships, dating, etc.), my life plans, etc.

In fact, to be perfectly honest a lot of that has only started to really come into focus in the last few weeks, particularly regarding the fact that I need to utterly surrender to Him my thoughts and desires regarding my future - especially what my career will look like. I finally proclaimed about two weeks ago, first in the privacy of my own heart during my time of devotions, and then aloud to Travis, the guy who disciples me, that I will pursue God's glory and seek His will for my life no matter what. Every dream and thought of glory, every hope for fame, I have chosen to set aside. Letting go is a process, of course, and I certainly have far to go even now. But ultimately, I want to see Him glorified, see His fame increased, see His name exalted in my life. However He chooses to do that - whether I remain innocuous and unknown all my days, or whether I am incredibly famous - is not only enough for me, it is the best I could ever hope for. That's a hard place to come to: it means letting go of all I once held dear, surrendering it to Him for the sake of His name. I have only now begun to catch a glimpse of the radical change that came over Paul, leading him to abandon all his worldly achievement and fame, and to seek the glory of God, to seek to proclaim the gospel of Christ at all costs. We're so used to his story, but he really did give up everything - prestige, power, admiration, a promising career: you name it, he had it, or it was on its way. Only now do I begin to grasp what he meant when he said that he counted it all as nothing for the sake of the cross - because I'm only now beginning to grasp how much higher a calling the cross is than all those things, how much worthier a path is my own death than my own aggrandizement.

I knew that there would be a testing borne of that proclamation, and I knew that there would be a higher standard for my life. I had no idea just how much it would affect my perspective, or how radical the changes God had in store for me were (and are). Nor did or understand how hard it would be or the price it would cost me. Last week, I started to catch a glimpse - and only that: a glimpse. If what I have gone through in the last week is the beginning, then what is to come will surely be an even greater challenge. But then, the testimony for God's name, for the glory of Christ, will be so much greater as well. And that is more than enough. That's what makes my heart leap. And that is the change that He is starting to work in me.

Last week, my own utter inadequacy once again became very real to me. Between my tiredness and the strain of classes and midterms, I hit my breaking point. I exploded at Dean. I haven't blown up in anger like that at anyone in a very, very long time - years. I'd been snapping at him and others all week; I'd been overly sensitive to teasing all week; I'd been generally vulnerable on an emotional front in ways that I haven't been for several months, what with the work God accomplished in me this summer and in the beginning of the school year. And all of that only fed my frustration, my growing irritation at myself for not being better than that. When it finally exploded out of me in an angry yell at Dean - for something utterly trivial - it shocked me at one level, and surprised me not the least on another. I'd known I was close to the breaking point, but I hadn't know just how close. But it broke my heart when I yelled at him. I just stopped after I had finished, my head hanging, apologized, and walked away in tears. It took me a few minutes to even realize what was going on, and why it bothered me so much. What I finally realized was this: I've been under huge amounts of strain before, and recently, without losing my control like that. What bothered me, more than that I was stressed or tired or unable to deal with it, was the simple knowledge that This is not who God has made me. This is not who I am anymore. And it broke my heart even more.

So I fell down on my knees in the grass and sobbed and cried out to God, seeking His answer.

And, as always, the Holy Spirit, in His infinitely comforting (but infinitely convicting) way, brought the answer. It's very simple. I am a fallen man. My flesh is in rebellion against God. There is nothing good in me. Nothing. If I failed in my relationship to Dean, that is merely becuase my own strength is useless. Not just useless to solve my own problems, as I've so often been made aware in the past, but useless to God, useless to His kingdom, useless to serving others in His name. There is nothing in me that is capable of doing anything for God. When something is accomplished through me, it is just that: the Holy Spirit acting through me, using what gifts He has given me, for His glory. It has nothing to do with me. For the first time, I began to understand Paul's meaning when he talked about willing to act for God and failing, and willing not to act for the flesh and failing equally. For the first time, I understood the truth that the fleshly man is in utter enmity with God, resisting Him with everything in it. For the first time, I actually came face to face with my own inability to please God. I've had the head knowledge for years, of course, and I've wrestled with the issues in my heart. But by the grace of God, by the providence of the Spirit, my eyes were opened to see it, to understand it in a way that I never have before.

I am nothing; He is everything. I cannot live for myself; I'm not worth living for. He is. I cannot do for Him anything in my own power; only by surrendering to Him utterly and letting Him rule my heart and my thoughts, my words and my deeds, can I ever see His name glorified in my life. And that's what I want to live for. Not for some insignificant and unlasting fame, not for some glory heaped upon myself that turns to bitter ashes when I find I've lived my life for me. No, I want to see Him glorified, and Him alone. He is becoming my all-sufficiency. There are so many areas in which I still have so far to go - but it's refreshing to have a vision of that as well, to know that I will never attain until I am at His side, perfected. I understand just a little bit now how Paul, late in his life and having served God mightily, could see himself as weakest of God's servants, could see himself as chief of sinners. Because with what the Holy Spirit showed me last Friday night, I finally see that in myself. And, finally, I see the magnitude of what Christ has saved me from. We take for granted the cross; we take so lightly the salvation we have, because we do not see that from which we are saved, when we've grown up in the church and been Christians from a young age. Thank God for His revelation; praise be to Him who brings truth!

My words are not enough. God is big enough; He is mighty enough; He is able enough. Live for Him. I will - by His grace, and His strength. I love you all.

- Chris

1 comment:

  1. .

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    God designed humans to want to
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    I am trying here to prevent anyone from
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    "Let every student be plainly instructed and
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    everyday what we don't understand unless it
    comes to the issue of salvation.
    - - - Dr. Woodrow Kroll

    There is simply no historic foundation for the
    position that the Framers intended to build the
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    history, a metaphor which has proved useless
    as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and
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    the US Supreme Court, William Rehnquist

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    are blessed whose God is the Lord."
    -- President Abraham Lincoln


    Trust in yourself and you are doomed to
    disappointment; trust in money and you
    may have it taken from you; but trust in
    God, and you are never to be confounded
    in time or eternity. - D.L. Moody

    Faith and love are apt to be spasmodic
    in the best of minds. Men and women live
    on the brink of mysteries and harmonies
    into which they never enter and with their
    hand on the doorlatch they die outside.
    - - GK Chesterton

    Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
    Dr. Whoami

    P.S. Here's some blogs that I found
    of interest
    as I negotiated my way
    through cyberspace:


    Is Jesus God?
    Religion Comparison
    Watch The Jesus Movie
    Muhammad or Jesus???
    Answering Islam
    A Short Look At Six World Religions
    God's Word in different languages...
    How to become a Christian
    Who Is Jesus?
    See The Word
    Around the Well
    Every Student
    'Thought & Humor'


    Only one of these is amalgamated with me -
    can you determine which one??? Tell me
    sometime what your thoughts are
    about all this:O)

    ReplyDelete

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