Friday, May 20, 2011

Who are we?

When phrased with the question, "What is your purpose?" or "Why were you created?" or "Whats the point of this earth?" we all know the Sunday School answers. Perhaps we can even sit down with a Bible and explain, in detail, the answers to these questions. So, we know it in our heads. We can give someone else the answer. ~~~~~~~~~~
But do we know this (and live it) in our hearts? Do we (do I) really get it? I was made in the image of God for HIM, not for myself. I don't read the Word to see what I can get out of it; I read it because it's about Him. I read it to KNOW HIM. He didn't create me so that I would be happy and fulfilled here on earth. He didn't create me to be comfortable. He didn't create me with all these passions, desires, needs to end on me. To be fulfilled in this world. Do we get that? Any innate desire that I have, any passion of mine, any need...was given so that I might use those for Him. He gave them to me so that I would see my need for Him. It wasn't meant to end on me. Ever.
He created me so that I would know Him and make Him known, understanding that any true joy and happiness is ONLY found in Him. Do we get that? Do we REALLY get it? He is the only Faithful, the only True. If you've lived life long enough, you know this. This world is temporary and failing. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! Some of us sooner than later. This will ALL end and be NOTHING. When we place our happiness and joy on things of this world, it will create havoc and discontentment. No one - and nothing - was EVER meant to hold our love, hope, and joy. No man or woman, no thing or idea, no possession or comfort - nothing - can ever maintain faithfulness, can ever meet up to our desires or standards or expectations. They were NEVER meant to. Ever. Only Jesus can have that title. This cannot be something we simply say; we MUST LIVE IT. Only Jesus can have that title...
For a believer, this is our hope. We are created in the image of God FOR God. He created us for Him and His glory. And for our good - because, in Christ, is the greatest joy. The greatest hope. The greatest love. Knowing God fulfills us. Knowing God gives us the greatest joy and love and hope we will ever experience in this earth. Knowing this transforms us, from the inside out. Our hearts are alligned with the Word. Our words, our thoughts, our actions line up to Scripture and truth. We mimic Jesus, we mimic those who mimic Jesus. We are so deeply in tune to Him, that we desire obedience, we hate sin, we pursue righteousness, because it gives HIM ALL THE GLORY. Intimate communion with Him, for a believer, means...
When terror strikes, we can say, as David did, "I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8)
When suffering befalls us, we can believe this: "We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5)
When sin entangles us, we can plead, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." (Psalm 51:10-11) - AND HE WILL! (1 John 1:9)
When things are "going well" for us, we still say "Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him..." Philippians 3:7-9
This whole thing. This earth. This life. This galaxy. How big and how great and how tremendous the world is. How vast history is. How detailed orangisms are. EVERYTHING. Our lives. Jesus death. Suffering. Hope. Joy. Birth. Life. Death. Fear. Sin. Redemption. Change. Natural disasters. Cancer. Marriage. Children. Talents. EVERYTHING. Is in the purpose of God for His glory and for His renown.
My life is not my own. It is NOT about me.
God's ultimate purpose for the universe and for all of history, and for your life, is to display the glory of Christ in its highest expression, namely, in His dying to make a rebellious people His everlasting and supremely happy bride. To say it another way, God's ultimate purpose in creating the world and choosing to let it become the sin-wrecked world that it is, is so that the greatness of the glory of Christ could be put on display at Calvary where He bought His rebellious bride at the cost of His life. - John Piper

Monday, May 2, 2011

Am I pursuable?

I think oftentimes we, as women, doubt our worth to humanity, specifically men. Whether we voice it or not, there's a part of us that struggles deeply in this. Even more specific, for the single woman. You don't have a boyfriend, you aren't dating, and no guy seems to have a single bit of romantic affection for you; so you automatically question, "What's wrong with me?" You doubt that you are worthy of pursuit, that you have anything to offer, that there's any beauty in you.

I say this because I have been there, and when I'm not intentional about holding every thought captive to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5) I easily slip back into this. I slip back into the fear and insecurity of "Am I going to have to take care of myself my whole life?" - "Will my heart never get to feel those funnies?" - "Is there a guy who wants me to be his?" - "Will I get the chance to raise babies to love and fear Jesus?" and on and on. There is nothing wrong with these desire. Jesus gave them to me. But when my heart is unsettled and fear creeps in, that's a problem. (Perfect love casts away fear. 1 John 4:18) The problem with this is that it's a lack of trust. Oftentimes I want to let myself sit in that doubt and struggle without having to combat it, but I can't. There are clear cut commands in Scripture that tells me (and us) to lay our worries aside and REST. Trust. As a believer, I don't get a break from that. I don't get to take a few hours and sin because I "feel" like it - I am called to lay everything aside, every minute of every day, for the rest of my life, for HIM. For His glory. For my holiness. That's why the road to Jesus is narrow. It's hard.

Matthew 6 says "do not be anxious about your life...which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? FIRST His kingdom."

Jesus says in that section that He notices and cares for the sparrow, a bird of "insignificance."  He feeds them and takes care of them and supplies their needs. I AM OF MORE VALUE THAN THEY! I focus on my lack of something here on earth, and therefore LOSE sight of Jesus and all that I have in Him. I AM beautiful because of Him. I AM worthy because of Him. I AM pursuable because of Him. He makes me beautiful so that I can praise Him. He makes me worthy so that I can glorify Him. He makes me pursuable so that I can point to Him. Nothing of this is about me.

Humbling and hard. We can't lose sight of this. I'll say this until I'm blue in the face, but Jesus really IS better. There is no other love that comes close to the love of Christ. There is no other high, no other passion, no other feeling, no other comfort, that is even a fraction of what Christ offers. I refuse to live my life believing something or someone else can satisfy me greater than He can. Despite the dark and lonely hours, despite the nights of continual tears, despite the feelings that seem to boil inside me...HE IS BETTER. I know this and rest in it. All other pursuits pale in comparison to that of Jesus Christ.

I pray this becomes more and more real in my life as each day passes.
Jesus, You are better.

Whatever gain I had, I count as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith - that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus...our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
Philippians 3:7-16, 20-21