Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I want to know Christ

I wrote before about asking God to do something IN me rather than asking Him to do something THROUGH me. I guess that's what this is all about, God working IN me. To be honest, I am more comfortable looking for what God needs to do in others. Maybe I am not the only one like that. A sweet friend and fellow minister's wife said that those of us in ministry have a tendency to see everyone else's speck. (If she wasn't in ministry herself, that would have hurt my feelings much worse- ha ha)

Several things have been bouncing around in my head the past few days. In Calvin's sermon, he commented on our tendency to begin our statements about what God is doing with the pronoun "I". Hmmmmm. I see that. When asked "How are things going?" or "What's been going on?", I am eager to tell all about the Ladies ministry at Pearson and all about what is going on at Pearson....but I am afraid that most of my sentences DO indeed begin with "I"...or we....or Calvin. (That's my super great preacher/husband for those that don't know).....I am afraid that I start far too few sentences with "God". I guess I can start now...

God is working on me. He has challenged me to the core and I don't suspect that He will be done with me anytime soon. He has humbled me and made me take an honest look at my reasons for doing all sorts of things. God is leading me into a deeper relationship with Him. To be honest, it is a little frightening, but I know that God is trustworthy and that everything He commands is ultimately good....and He is teaching me to trust Him more.

Another thing bouncing around in my brain today is what God told Cain in Genesis 4: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Right after that conversation, Cain murdered his brother...really??? Cain was ticked because God showed favor to Able when Able presented his offering, but not to Cain when Cain gave God his offering. He killed his brother because he (Cain) didn't do right! That's just crazy!

Or is it?

I've never killed anyone, but I have sure resented people whose offering seemed better than mine! God asked Cain and Able to give to Him first and give Him their best. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Is this much different than God saying "Just do what I tell you to and you will have my favor"? Doesn't matter what anyone else does. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Just do what I have called you to do.

And what about the warning...sin crouches at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Soooo, I CAN rule over this sin...this pride. It IS possible...but I have to do what is right. In the story of Cain and Able, God was talking about offering their BEST to HIM. How many months have not done ANYTHING because I didn't possess the gift I wanted to offer? Specifically, I do not have my voice back. "I can't teach, I can't sing, so I'm not doin nuthin!" Hmmmmm...I have on more than one occasion even resented those who can teach and those who can sing. Am I so unlike Cain? We both resented someone because they were using their gift well...while we did not use our gifts at all.

wow...Me and Cain....Who'da thought it? Not exactly something I expected to discover.

Thank you Lord for shining light on my sin. Please forgive me for not using the gifts You have given me and forgive me for being jealous and resentful of other people's gifts. Help me to use the gifts YOU have given me to bring YOU glory. Help me focus on what YOU want ME to do rather than on what others are or are not doing. Help me grow in the areas You have set in place for me to minister and serve.

The final thing taking up space in my brain this week is the Scripture Calvin used in his sermon Sunday. It's found in Philippians 3...
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. This is where I got my New Year Resolution from. I may be stuck here for a while. There is a lot of stuff before and after these particular verses that I'll have to take into consideration as well. Before these verses, Paul is talking about how all his earthly "fame" is no more than garbage, and after these verses is when he talks about pressing on toward the goal.
The questions currently bouncing around in my brain are things like:
Does Paul want to know what it is like to be resurrected and to participate in Christ's sufferings, or does he want to know the power of these things?
How does Paul suggest to become like Jesus in death? Does he want to be crucified? What was Jesus like in death? What aspect of that can a human "become like"?
If Paul knew that we are promised eternity in heaven, then why does he want to attain the resurrection from the dead? Is he really referring to "dead" as I think of "dead" or is he referring to spiritual death? And if he knew Christ already as Savior, why would he need to attain resurrection from the dead? What am I missing???
If he is referring to spiritual death here, then could he possibly have been focusing on what Christ was LIKE in His death rather than Christ's death earlier in the passage?
These are the things that go round and round (and round and round) in my head.

Lord, help me understand what Paul was talking about. How do I know? I mean, I know that there are commentaries out there to tell me what all these things mean, but they are written by people. How do I know Lord? How do I know what Paul meant? I want to know you and I want to understand what Paul was pressing toward, what he wanted to know, what he was missing, what he was looking for that made him pen these words. Lord, he knew you. He continues to lead people to you even today through the letters he wrote. Did he realize that there was more? Did he feel a longing in his heart for more of you? And if so, would he satisfy that longing in knowing the power of Your resurrection and participation in Your sufferings, becoming like You in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead? And what dead was he seeking resurrection from?
Lord, I am seeking.....

That's all I've got. I'll do some research and see what answers I can find, then I'll be back.


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