Monday, September 3, 2012

ALL THINGS. Seriously?

Soul Scrub 1
ALL THINGS.  Seriously?

Philippians 4:13 – the bane of every ADD Christian

Many years ago, somewhere around 1977, I began to meet with a small group of committed, hungry and sometimes confused Christian teens.  For that matter, we were all teenagers at the time, with the exception of the youth pastor leading the group.

We met on Wednesday mornings before school at around 6:00 am.  We gathered in a little house called the White House, just east of our church building.  It was called the White House, because it was a house, and it was white.

There were several objectives.  I’ll be spiritual about the order: 1) we met for pray together; 2) we met to read and memorize some scripture; 3) we met to have breakfast and fellowship.  I’d like to believe that was everyone’s order of priority for meeting, but honestly food and fellowship with friends (especially with some girls I had a crush on) was the likely priority.  That’s not evil, but it doesn’t sound real spiritual.  But it was true.

Over time I grew to really appreciate scripture memorization.  Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the food and fellowship, because each week different individuals were responsible to make or provide breakfast.  Some weeks it was donuts and milk.  Other weeks it was full blown eggs and bacon, or pancakes and sausage.  So yes it was food and also fun that drew me to the group, but eventually scripture really began to take hold in my heart, and that played a major part in why this group became something very special to me.

One of the passages we memorized was Philippians 4:13.  Look it up, I won’t quote it.  But I will tell you I locked onto that passage and carried it with me for years.  Kind of like a lucky rabbits foot that I would rub when I was confronted with something challenging.  And I suppose God in His infinite grace and Fatherly compassion, let me use it that way.

But recently, I’ve come to realize the detriment of that passage for me.  I simply could not do ALL THINGS through Christ, but only the things that He spoke or commanded.  And furthermore, if the ALL THINGS somehow include the will of another person, gridlock was likely.  And what about if I’m uncertain and find my feelings waffling on a decision I need to make, then James chapter one kicks in, and again, nothing happens.

I don’t point these things out to cause doubt or question regarding the veracity of scripture, but I make this point because, ALL THINGS that I would attempt to accomplish, must align with God’s will and not mine.  Oh granted I may desire things that appear close to His will, but unless I’m spot on, ALL THINGS will not come to pass, regardless of how much I want them.  In addition, sometimes I just need to take action, to catalyze my faith, His Word and His Will.

So, what to do?  I pray, Father not my will but Thy will be done.  Further I pray, reveal Thy will through scripture, through a clear Spirit leading and even through the truth weighed voice of others.  And finally I pray, grant me perfect peace that I may move toward my ALL THINGS moments with confidence and assurance, that my heart’s desire IS TO DO HIS WILL and LOVE HIM above all else.  And finally, by taking action in one direction or another, I can confirm His guiding hand and find my ALL THINGS met in Him alone.

CAVEAT: Something else I’m learning as I step out and make forward looking choices; if my heart is truly humbled and right before God, then I must also rest in the same grace that saved me, to keep or restore me even if the choice ends up not the best one at that time.  For in God’s economy there is the beautiful provision of second chances, and third and fourth etc.; as long as my heart is not hardened to His voice.

So the next time I begin to quote Philippians 4:13, may I do so with the confident knowledge that I will be standing on the sure foundation of His Word, His Will and His Spirit’s leading; and not my own.  And if by chance I miss the mark in assuming I can do ALL THINGS, He will be there with the same grace he saved me with, to restore me once again to His purpose for my life (Jeremiah 39:11; Romans 8:28).
Finally, may I never be guilty of the great sin of presumption David spoke of in Psalm 19:12-14.  If you don’t remember it, here it is.

Psalm 19:12-14 (AMP) “Who can discern his lapses and errors?  Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults.  (13) Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!  Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression.  (14) Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer.”

Amen and amen.
ALL THINGS?  Maybe, if that’s what He wills!

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