Friday, February 01, 2008

The Greatest Challenge to Doing What Is Right...

...Is doing what is hard."

This quote is from an article by Mark W. Gaither, published in Insights (Sept. 2007, p.2), the monthly newsletter from Insight for Living. I found it challenging to me, for, like in the life of King Saul, I find myself often doing what's right as long as it aligns with my comfort—or put another way: doing God's will when it happens to be mine as well. This is dangerous dealing and must be abandoned posthaste!

"Generally speaking, people have two important values they hope to preserve: comfort and integrity. And, more often than not, right choices are the best way to preserve both. Obedience to the law and honest dealings are not only right, but they pay good dividends—usually. However, doing what is right often requires as step of faith, and it may include a measure of suffering. That's when we come face-to-face with an ugly truth: We typically make decisions that preserve our comfort and then feel relieved when they also happen tot maintain our integrity. When doing what is right requires us to choose between comfort and integrity, the resulting crisis can be debilitating. Because the instinct to safeguard our comfort is so powerful, we will have to be deliberate about making integrity the primary value in every decision—even the easy ones."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meditations from Chambers

My brother got me my own copy of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest for Christmas, and the Lord has blessed me with very relevant meditations from the book every day.

January 28 — All I do should be based on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly.

January 29 — Have I been persecuting Jesus by an eager determination to serve Him in my own way? ...My way will not be to foster a meek and quiet spirit, only the spirit of self-satisfaction. We presume that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord— "I
delight to do Your will, O my God . . ." (Psalm 40:8).

January 31 —
Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the gospel of God....And as long as our eyes are focused on our own personal holiness, we will never even get close to the full reality of redemption. Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. "Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes." ...There is no reckless abandon to God in that.

I have been distracted by pursuit of holiness to the point of forgetting knowing God. After all, redemption is all about knowing God. Jesus said in John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." And redemption involves the fact that we are utterly sinful and helpless without Christ. No amount of satisfaction should be gained by how well we are doing or how mature we are growing in Christ. Focus should be on the Lord alone—His love while we were sinners, His grace in supplying salvation, His grace every step of the way.
Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!