I am blessed to be part of a women’s group through my church. We meet on Sunday mornings and talk about our lives, our struggles, our blessings, and whatever random stories happen to come up during conversation. I cherish this time because it’s an opportunity to connect with other women, first of all. And, second of all, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow and allow the Lord to bind hearts together as believers. Really, how blessed am I to have this in my life? Not only do I have amazing female friends, but these friends are also strong believers who will advise and encourage me with scripture and truth! Thank you, Lord, for this gift!
We’ve been discussing Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick together. If you haven’t read it and want a good devotional that brings Christianity back to it’s core values and meaning, I highly recommend it. Fitzpatrick does such a good job of reminding me of what my salvation means and what it means to be a Christian…stripped away of all the definitions the world tries to give it and cut down to the bones of scripture. It’s something I know I need to read and allow to sink into my heart this summer.
Specifically, the Lord has brought to mind over and over again one sentence: “It’s not about you.” NOTHING in this life is about me. EVERYTHING is about the Lord and bringing him glory. It sounds so simple, (as most things in Christianity are–love the Lord, love your neighbor) but it isn’t. It is immensely more difficult than it sounds.
Jesus was a perfectly humble servant, even unto death. Of all people, he had every right to feel good about what he was doing while on Earth. He had a close relationship with the Father; he preached the gospel on a daily basis; he loved other people with a pure, unconditional love; he healed those who were sick; comforted those who were hurting and grieving; he resisted the temptation to sin; he was patient with his disciples when they didn’t understand his teachings and constantly questioned what he was doing; and he humbled himself to the point of dying. Of sacrificing himself, taking on sin which caused his Father to turn away from him thus marking the first time they would ever be separated. Ever. None of us can even imagine the grief the Father felt on that day. Worse than any grief a mother would feel after the loss of her child or a child would feel after the loss of a parent. There is no comparison. The Father and the Son had NEVER been apart from each other until that moment. And it was all done so that the Father would never have to turn his face away from anyone else again. Now, when He looks at us, He sees the blood of Jesus Christ covering us. There is nothing that can separate us from Him because Jesus was obedient on the cross.
This is why it’s not about me. I cannot take credit for any good deed, any act of love, any moment I open my Bible and glean truth from scripture, any time I sin and promise to never do it again, the blessing of my husband, my child, my parents, my upbringing, my home, my job, my stuff. All of it. Anything I am given, anything that I do (good or bad) is not about me. Take myself out of the equation completely. It’s about the Lord and bringing Him glory. Even in my own sin. God is so amazing that he can turn my sin into glory for Himself. For, when I sin and try to not act on that sin again in my own strength, I fail. Every time I fail. But, if I give that sin to the Lord, realizing that He loves me and has already forgiven me, that he doesn’t even see the sin for which I am trying to atone for on my own (what?!), in that pure, perfect grace, I find that my sin has been turned into glory. How? Because from now on, when I speak of that sin, I will speak of the Lord, of his goodness, of his grace, his mercy, how he has forgiven me and how Jesus has atoned for my sin on the cross. It directly points others to the gospel. “In my weakness, His power is made perfect.” Unbelievable! It’s not about me.
He deserves the glory for the moments when I am able to love that student that has been driving me crazy, or when I find the energy to play with Bennett for 20 more minutes, or when I’m sitting on my computer typing a blog post about what He is teaching me. Why? Because love, energy, truth, blessings…all of these things come from Him. In my human nature, I run out of these things. And even if I can produce this on my own, the motivation behind it is wrong or I may be able to hold on for today, but what about tomorrow? Again, it’s not about me.
This truth has set me free. Now I am free to open my heart to the Lord, allow him to fill my cup, and allow that cup to overflow. Now that I know this, do I do it? Is life suddenly easy for me? No way. There is still a constant pull in the opposite direction, but the Lord is imprinting this truth onto my heart. Little by little, he is molding me into a true believer that belongs to Him.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and wham comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth…
Let them give glory to the Lord,
and declare his praise in the coastlands.