Many of us are in the pursuit of something.
When I was younger I wanted to be the smartest person in the room. That didn’t mean I needed to get the best grades, no just meant that when I was in a conversation, I was going to win. I didn’t want to ever be caught without knowing something. I couldn’t stand not having the answer.
So when I was approached by people who loved Jesus in college I was instantly on guard. I wasn’t about to be made a fool of. I couldn’t trust in something that I couldn’t have all the answers to. Because if I couldn’t figure out all the answers that means at some point I would be discovered to be wrong and I just can’t have that…
Seems pretty silly doesn’t it? But that mindset drove me in positive ways for a number of years. I would look into gaining more information on my own. I took on extra projects just because I wanted the extra information. I read all the time as a kid. I would clean out the library at my elementary school of all the biographies they would let me carry. I wanted to know more and more.
What I didn’t know was:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
I hadn’t even begun to learn, I couldn’t have, because I had no fear of the Lord. I didn’t even know what that meant or what it was referring to. Not only that, but I didn’t take kindly to instruction. I don’t need instruction, I can figure it out on my own. Don’t think I’m stupid.
I missed it. I was pursuing information, not knowledge. I wasn’t even trying to be wise, just right. I’m glad I have changed. I’m glad that isn’t my story anymore. But how much effort have I wasted for selfish and foolish purposes. I don’t think I want to know the answer to that.
Have you ever been truly humbled? Think Michael Jordan playing baseball humbled.
From the pinnacle of success (world championships in basketball) to the lowest of lows batting .202 in twoish seasons. Quite the fall. Quite certainly a humbling experience for our friend, the best basketball player of all time.
As always, when we are humbled, people are interested to see what the comeback looks like. Do we stand up? Do we own up? Do we recover? Can we continue on? Jordan came back and won 3 more world championships.
I’m just finished Job. Job was obviously humbled. I’m not even thinking about the difficulties he faced, but more about how God responded to Job’s questions. God made His point, quite clearly. That brought Job to His lowest point. You can be indignant when a friend ruffles your feathers or tries to call you out. But when God calls you out on the carpet…that’s what I thought. You’ve got nothing.
What does Job’s comeback look like? Let’s take a look:
“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I–and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” Job 42:1-6
Boom. Job got the message and he humbled himself before God. He knew he couldn’t win this fight. He didn’t give up, he just handed it over to who was always in charge. I think this is such a beautiful picture of what true humility looks like and how we can recover from being humbled with grace, honor and dignity.
Still in Job. Now I am too my favorite part.
Chapters 38, 39, 40 & 41. Yep, you read that right, 4 chapters. Four whole chapters of God describing Himself, and calling Job out for his haughtiness in regards to God during this calamity.
It is truly beautiful and menacing. Most of us don’t spend the time to think of all that God is doing, has done, will do. We can’t wrap our minds around Him and we truly don’t know where to even start. Where do you start?
I would suggest these 4 chapters of Job before going to Genesis. Genesis is the first person narrative. You are in the story. In Job, God is describing just a few things that He is responsible for and it takes up 4 chapters. He is so amazing.
In Job there was a rhythm to the writing. It is actually considered a book of poetry because of the rhythm. Job speaks, a friend speaks, Job speaks, a friend speaks, etc. etc. But God smashes that up because there is no way to answer Him. How do you answer,
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements–surely you know!” Job 38:4-5
That’s what I thought.
I love this not because it is intimidating (which it is, I get goose bumps when I think about hearing those words from the mouth of God) but because of how passionate God is about what He has done. He isn’t indifferent regarding His creation but He is all in. He knows and loves every detail. These words aren’t said without emotion, they come across with great emotion and clarity. This passage gives me a beautiful picture of a God that cares so much about His creation that He could, He just might want to have a one on one relationship with me.
The passion He uses to describe what He has done and what He is in charge of, He also spends on me. That is humbling and inspiring.
Man I love God.
You have to love My Cousin Vinny. It is a classic and also answers the age old question, “Whatever happened to the guy from Karate Kid?” My favorite scene (sorry for the bad version) can be watched here.
We are getting ready for the AWAKE student conference and I am being challenged by it. I am not the best person to be in charge of some “yutes”. I want to just shake them and encourage them not to make the same mistakes that I did when I was young and dumb like them.
But I don’t think that would have the desired effect. I am pretty certain I would just end up in jail, which would help my case a bunch.
My one piece of advice. This is for the young ladies out there. Are you ready for it?
He doesn’t love you.
That’s it. He doesn’t. No matter what he says or what you hear him say or what he does for you. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t even know what love it. So don’t buy that. And don’t do stupid stuff to try to keep some guy that doesn’t love you. Don’t confuse his lust for love. God loves you. Jesus loves you. And they are trustworthy. They want you to have purity and integrity. They believe you are precious and perfect just the way you are.
He doesn’t care about you. No matter what he says.
If you think I’m right, let’s get some Amens in the comments.
I am loving this song right now. What do you think?
Rend Collective Experiment
So what do you think?
I think it is super intimidating. I like the idea of the concept. Yes Jesus build your kingdom here. Use us, this church. Wait a minute. That sounds like a lot of work. I bet that is going to get messy. Do you think any people who are really screwed up will be involved? Because they make me tired.
It is easy to give lip service to say, “Yes Jesus, build your kingdom in this place.”
It is quite another thing to have him use you to do it. Seek your kingdom first. We lay down our lives for heaven’s call…
Are we ready for that? We talk about praying for a nation. Winning a nation for Christ, without any effort. Example, how much mission work are we doing in the US? The same way we can impact other countries by our presence, coming in Grace and Peace, we can impact neighborhoods, cities, counties, regions. But it takes work, because the Church is the vehicle Jesus has chosen to further the message of Grace He gave to us.
Try listening to the song again. Think about joining us on March 14 & 15 as we serve in Washington, IL helping a community recover from a devastating tornado.
I have had conversations before with someone who was once following God and walked away.
When I had a conversation with them I asked what happened. Usually the explanation starts out with something they have done, maybe a sin of some sort, and because of this, they feel like they have let God down.
Have you ever felt that way before? You do something and gulp, you feel overwhelmed with a sense that God was counting on you to keep together and when you sinned He was disappointed with you. You had let Him down. None of us like to disappoint someone. It’s human nature to try to avoid that. Then when we do it to God, the walls come tumbling down.
I’m still reading in Job and maybe surprisingly this book has something to say on the topic. Check out Job 34:14-15:
“If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together and man would return to dust.”
You may want to read that again. Especially if you read it quickly. Read it again slowly. Thanks. Now does that sound like someone who is relying on us for anything? At any moment he could take away from us what he has given us, His Spirit and breath and we would return to dust (that is how we were formed to begin with Genesis 1). If He is that powerful, what are we doing to hold Him up that we could possibly let Him down?
We can’t let God down, because we were never holding him up.
That’s not a get out of sin free card, but a stop beating yourself up card. Stop sinning, confess and repent. Move on.
It’s a time that happens twice a day.
It could be an address (without the colon).
But I’m a pastor, so 8:28 reminds me of a verse in the Bible. This one in particular reminds me of the 8:28 in the book of Romans. It reads:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
What this doesn’t say: Everything in your life will be good. You will have no troubles in your life.
What it does say: Even the crap in your life, God can turn to good.
We all have crap in our lives. Some of us are just running at a little deeper depth when it comes to crap. Sometimes I think it is funny when people for details about the bad things going on in your life. I picture it like this – I say, “I have a lot of pig crap from a farrowing house in the middle of my living room.” They say, “Oh really, how much?”
At which point I think, that doesn’t matter. It’s crap, stinky, messy, ugly, crap and the quantity doesn’t really matter; but thanks for asking.
Romans 8:28 isn’t a verse to be used to help people standing in a puddle of pig crap in their living room. No, you should just see if you can help with the smell. Romans 8:28 is a verse that you remember when you are on the other side of the clean up. Once it’s done and you can look back, Romans 8:28 is helpful. Romans 8:28 proves to you that God was right there with you in the crap, you just didn’t have the time or the patience to look for Him or to Him.
At least that’s my story.