Real joy and perserverence

This morning, I stopped in my tracks as I read this blog. I have been convicted more and more lately that I choose the easy way out. I choose to speak truth far more to those who I know will take it well or who I know agree theologically with me. I self-protect by reading people and situations. Basically, I am a coward.
I am amazed that God’s grace reaches to my cowardice and picks me up, and he renews me each day. I cling and pray for boldness, for courage, and then, again, I choose the safest way out. I am glad that I am a work in progress being shaped into his image more and more each day. The truth of his gospel revives me in the now. Reading Foxes Book of Martyrs humbles me, and thinking of those persecuted around the world does as well.
As I read the cited blog, I am thankful for those daily who say the hard things. Nothing good comes without a cost. We were promised high cost in God’s word, but it is cost with everlasting reward of the riches of Christ through eternity. There is a battle in my mind daily of whether I will treasure Christ more or the temporal things of this world which include new stuff in my house, cool food, financial “safety” and being liked and respected here on earth.
Truthfully, sometimes I live defeated thinking I am not enough…and I am right in thinking that. I have no hope without Christ, and in him, God looks on me without condemnation (Romans 8:1) and Fathers me growing me to be more like his son. For some reason, I default to thinking I have to do things on my own, and I forget the amazing Sovereignty of God. He grows me and leads me and imparts grace and love and discipline. There is no way I can get it together before him…only in him. He chose to deal with me, a mess, and he graciously leads me everyday through the power of the cross of Christ.
I am thankful for men and women who lead the way in living lives of boldness. The man who wrote the blog was bitter and hurting and desperate and his pastors and persevering friends continued to boldly and loving share the truth about God and his word standing with him when he did not want the “with”. The easiest thing to do would be to bring a casserole, shake one’s head in empathy and get the heck out of Dodge–especially when that may be what the people want. We don’t like the messiness of other’s lives because it reminds us of the messiness of our own that we may be trying to avoid. When Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself,” don’t you think this was the kind of love he meant? We tend to think of it as make people feel comfortable, but the greatest love may be losing your reputation and comfort in order to point them to the greatest truth–the greatest hope. That is what happened in the situation…the man knows Jesus in a far greater way now.
I think back on the past year of my life. There are people I tried to bear with in love and speak truth to, but most of the time, I followed their lead. If they pulled away after I pushed in, I let them. I know sometimes it happens that way, but is that the greatest love? I pray today for the faithfulness to love God with everything and love my neighbor as myself through the power of the Cross. When I falter, I pray for the strength to cling on in him. May I learn to count everything as loss in comparison to the riches of Him who called me.

3 Comments

  1. whew…I’ve said it before, but this is just excruciating for a people please, but so necessary to hear and learn from. Thanks for your transparency and your challenging words!

  2. I am so glad that we are a work in progress, and that Christ doesn’t just throw us aside like I so many times do him! I too cling to the fact that even through my failures He is continuously shaping me into the image of His Son…what a beautiful picture. I have been sharing with Bradley lately how disgusted I am with my complacency…or just sheer laziness for that matter. It is heartbreaking to look at all that Christ has done on my behalf, and see my huge lack of discipline when is comes to sharing Him with a lost world. My mind is definitely more focused on the earthly appearence rather than the eternal reward too often! It is still amazing to me that His grace covers my nastiness. I love it that you said “nothing good comes without a cost”, that is so true! Anyway, I love reading your blog. Like Elisa said, it is definitely challenging…keep em’ coming!

  3. Major, MAJOR dittos on everything. Especially: “We don’t like the messiness of other’s lives because it reminds us of the messiness of our own that we may be trying to avoid.”

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