Sunday, July 12, 2015

Boasting in My Weakness

I’ve got to say, it’s not easy for me to think about writing this post. Even simply typing the title made me pause.

I’m the kind of person who likes to be right—who needs to be right (or at least I think I do). I want to be the one who’s dependable and got it all together.

But, truth is, I’m not – and I don’t.

God is at work in my heart and life. Often I wish He would hurry up and finish so that I would just be good to go. But then I wouldn’t need Him as desperately, would I?

In the past weeks and months, I’ve been wrestling with apathy. Well, actually, a more accurate description would be that I’ve been giving in to apathy without putting up a lot of fight.

I’ve been battling discouragement, hypocrisy, etc. You name one of those inner struggles that’s so easy to put a mask over, I’ve probably been dealing with it to some extent.

But God – He sees right through my masks. Jesus Christ sees my heart with His eyes of blazing fire that our teacher talked about this morning in church (from Revelations 2:18). And yet this same God doesn’t only see in me what I so often focus on, the sin & failures, the guilt. God the Father sees in me the righteousness of His Son, our Savior.

That’s what He reminded me of this afternoon as I knelt on my bed, crying for shame & guilt of my shortcomings. And to my heart, three simple words, yet so profound that it will take eternity to understand: He loves me.

Yes, in myself I am weak – so very prone to give into the temptation of the easy, selfish path. But in my weakness is the opportunity for His strength to be displayed, for His glory.

Because if living the Christian life—a life that pleases God—is something that I could work up to do in my own strength, there would have been no need for Christ to come.

I need Him, He who has fought the war and won the victory; He who has defeated the enemies of sin and Satan and death. The balance is there: The war has been won, and yet I am called to fight the daily battles by the power of the Victor flowing in and through me.

Yesterday as I worked on laundry, some of these same thoughts which have been common these past weeks were already circling in my mind. I shut off the podcast I was listening to, and prayed seeking to listen to my God instead. And in that, I was reminded of the need to put to death my old man, my fleshly desires, each day. But I can’t even crucify my own flesh – that can only be done through the Spirit who brings life in the place of death (Romans 8:13).

Thanks be to God, it is not that I must struggle against my flesh in order to win God’s acceptance and approval. On the contrary, He has adopted me as His daughter through Christ’s death – thereby giving the only reason I have hope of choosing life over the sin and death which form our natural, fallen state (Romans 8:12-17).

And yesterday, as He called me to the beginning of this memory, my mind flew back to a little something I had started in March and finished in June:

I say I started it in March. That’s not strictly true. March is when I pulled some images of crosses from the Internet and selected a font, all of which I began to combine and trace to make this image. But the story of this picture started almost four years ago, on my 21st birthday at JBU’s Sunday night chapel service. It was there that the words “I am Thine” (referring to myself in relationship to my heavenly Lord, obviously) became emblazoned on my mind. They’ve been there ever since, and often my heart has repeated that cry.

The cross was added to the mental image later, in Northern Ireland. That’s a story of its own, perhaps for another day. But over these past two years since that trip, I’ve been wanting to draw this. Last month, the image was finally completed. And yesterday, it suddenly took on even deeper significance. Not only is the cross the symbol of Christ’s redemption of our souls, it is also the symbol of what we are called to: To take up our cross each day – not to earn our salvation, but because we have it (Luke 9:23-25, Philippians 3:7-11).

These words, this symbol – they are far beyond anything I can accomplish in and of myself. It is all Christ. Therefore, I will gladly boast in my weakness, that through me the strength of His grace may be seen (2 Corinthians 12:9). For His glory alone.

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