Wednesday, April 15th
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16:11
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:3
This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken! Jeremiah 9:23-24
Like the disciples in the story of the feeding of the 5000, we are followers of Christ. We follow him because we believe we need him in order for our lives to be what they were meant to be. Even though we recognize our need for him it is hard to "need" him to the extent that we get out of the way and let him be at the center of everything. "Self" runs deep and is our greatest obstacle in life. We are so used to applying ourselves to the things we face in life. This is what the disciples did in the situation before them: hungry crowds out in the middle of nowhere. At their best they might have thought about the difference Jesus makes and counted on him to handle the situation. Or at least their first response to the situation might have been to consult with Jesus for what to do about the hungry crowds out in the middle of nowhere. But no, they have already applied themselves to the situation and they come and tell Jesus what needs to be done: “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves."
The passages above combine together to steer us away from ourselves and back to a full orientation of counting on Christ to make the difference in the circumstances of our lives. How readily we count on ourselves and apply ourselves to the things we face. "Hope" helps us focus on the reality that Christ can make the needed difference in the circumstances that will come our way as we live our lives. But we first need "hope" that Christ can make a differnce in how oriented we are to relying on "self." Habit may be part of our struggle but pride is the main reason we rely on ourselves. We like being in charge and handling life until we don't (we have our own standards as to what constitutes "handling" and "not handling" life). Christ is not the "option" we turn to when "self" can't handle things. As a matter of fact, Christ is not a "option" at all. Christ is it - he is our life. Our lives must be his doing and his alone. This is the orientation of a follower of Christ who gets it. Will we rely on him perfectly? No! But, have we made the commitment of seeking absolute surrender to Christ and the lifelong pursuit of relying on him for the difference he makes and not relying on ourselves?
Lord this is my prayer today: teach me what "relying" on you really means and help me make the commitment of "absolute surrender" to you. Lord, help me to "need" you to the extent that I get out of the way and let you be at the center of everything.
Posted on Wed, April 15, 2015
by Alan Porter