Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When the bottom falls out.....

"Unless our foundation is firmly rooted in Christ, nothing we do will truly 
matter or have a lasting effect on us or an impact in our world."

In case you haven't figured it out, you should know that any time a blog post is coming up later than my typical 5:00AM, it's because I've got writers block. Some mornings God is so clear about what I am to write about that it just literally spills onto the keyboard and the words practically type themselves. And then there are the mornings like today. The ones where no matter how hard I pray, the concept is there, but the words aren't coming. Those are the days He always has some point He needs to make first before I write it out.

This past week I was reading Judah Smith's new book How's Your Soul? This book is a game changer in a lot of ways. The premise is that we are usually so focused on fixing or upgrading our 'outsides' that we forget that God is more concerned about what's inside. Additionally, unless we let Him be the one to fix the inside, the outside will never be right.

Towards the end of the book, Judah takes time to segment and explain Philippians 1:6 that He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion, with the key phrase being 'in you'. He reminds us that Jesus' harshest words on this matter were directed towards the Pharisees and He called them 'whitewashed tombs, blind guides, fools, hypocrites, snakes, and unmarked graves. Judah writes, "I think Jesus used such strong words because He saw genuine danger. Merely fixing up the outside might makes us look good and feel good for a while, but ultimately it backfires. The paint comes off, and the cracks and faults are still there."

Which brings me to my current situation.....

That was the mini mixer that I used to make my protein shake in the morning. The bottom fell out on the mixer base. #EpicFail #CounterTopMess

Here's what I realized. Unless our foundation is firmly rooted in Christ, nothing we do will truly matter or have a lasting effect on us or an impact in our world. Everything in the beginning was made through Him and for Him. It's all meant to glorify God in the light of eternity. But if our foundation is cracked from improper use, this is what happens. It falls apart and leaves a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up.

There are too many external sources that compete for our attention and affection. We see magazines in line at the grocery store that are allegedly going to teach us how to improve our strength, waistlines, productivity, marriages, children, homes, finances, relationships, etc. We are bombarded with sponsored ads on facebook, television, and the radio. And let's not forget that we are all experts in our right with how we think it is best to do anything that we have had any amount of success with. We so easily forget that any progress we have made, any money we have earned or saved, any thing we have ever done, including breathing, was done only through the grace and power of God in us. He put the breath in, He takes the breath out of us, and if He quits supplying it, we are a lifeless pile on the floor.

Yesterday I wore my favorite shirt. It was a gift I got for Christmas this year that's a 3/4 sleeve ringer tee. It says, All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. If you know me, you know that I drink an obnoxious amount of coffee every day. My 'cup' is 16 ounces and I usually have 6 of those. When you take that into consideration, it gives you perspective on just how much Jesus I need. And why? Because I'm exhausted from trying to fix myself from the outside. I did that for a lot of years and for some reason, this year, I realized it wasn't working and that I had to let God in to do the demolition work to restore me to the factory original He intended.

The truth is, just like I mis-used the mixer, I have mis-used my relationship with Jesus. I would invite Him to the party as a last resort to round out the guest list that included my ideas, my plans, my thoughts, and my expectations. I think it's why He keeps leading me to certain books, what He's showing me in my Bible, and the verses He's put on my heart to commit to memory. He's finally been given the all access pass to my heart, even the things I never wanted Him to discuss for fear that the old wounds were still to tender to touch. 

I don't know where all of this will go or what the fnished product will look like when I draw my last bit of borrowed breath. What I do know is that He began this work and He'll see it through to completion because He's never going to give up on me.

Father, You know that my heart was mostly in the right place on a lot of the things I tried to fix. But in retrospect, I am thrilled that You never let me see lasting success on any of it. The temporary was nice while it lasted, but it's only made me hungrier to do it Your way, knowing that Your way brings the change that will last. Thank You for Your love, thank You for Your grace, and thank You for Your patience on never giving up on me. Amen.

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