For those who know me, you might know that I used to be a slightly toned-down version of the crazy apocalyptic highway drivers in Mel Gibson’s Mad Max movies.  I have never once handed off the wheel to my wife in a fit of rage and then climbed onto the roof of the moving vehicle we were in only to leap onto another car with a gun in one hand and a mace in the other in a no-holds-barred roadway fight to the death.  But I considered it.  You’ll be glad to know that God has trained me out of that person, but I tell the story to illustrate the place that many of our problems with sin begin, what we think is a harmless thought.  In our worldly thinking, we tend to focus on the outside to make sure we give a good appearance of what we want others to see, shaping what they think about us, but inside, we may have more sinful thoughts that no one can see.  As Jesus taught, these thoughts can be part of our sin and sins in themselves (Mat. 5:28), so the thoughts we have are just as important to God as our actions.  But as always with humans, we are often not what we should be, and without His work in us, that’s where we would remain.   So, not being as we should, we often simply put up the pretense of good on the outside while neglecting the training of our thoughts inside through meditation on His word and through prayer.  Instead, we set up facades or images designed to gain the approval and love of others, acting out the role that we think others want us to be.  Maybe we do this because we know we are not that person, but we want to become that person.  Or, if our motives are less pure, we don’t want to put in the effort to become that person at all, simply wanting others to think that we are. 

This can set up a hypocritical contrast between what we pretend to be on the outside and what we actually are on the inside.  Likewise, we can, by the setting of our heart on what is good or true, sometimes display or pretend on the outside what we want ourselves to become on the inside.  And if all goes well, we then eventually flower into this person that we are acting out.  For example, we can desire to display courage or leadership, and by acting the role, doing things that are courageous and seeking roles where we lead and influence others, then we develop inside what we are trying to portray outside.  Sometimes when we do this, we are acting in faith.  God has told us to do something, but we know in our hearts that we don’t have what’s inside to be able to do this act (or at least we think we don’t – sometimes we don’t even know ourselves very well).  But if God tells us to do something, the best thing to do is to obey, whether we understand or not, and whether we have within us the wherewithal to accomplish it or not.  When God has told us to do something, He expects obedience, and He already has a plan for helping us to accomplish it, even if we cannot foresee His plan.  When God tells us to step out in these acts of faith, He is getting us in the habit of being a useful servant to others, or He is trying to teach us something, or He is trying to build up our character in some way, maybe even to bless us with some experience that we would not otherwise have. 

He is showing us that, yes, you can’t do it on your own, but with His Spirit inside you giving you power, He becomes the strength in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).  He perfects your imperfection.  In a word, He does the impossible, and He makes you into the improbable.   This might sound crazy to the thinking of the world, but this is God’s way.  He does not want the experts and the smart, capable, and powerful people who think they know it all, although He can use them, too, if they humble themselves, deflating their egos enough to give His Spirit room to operate within them.  But God often seems to prefer working with those who really have nothing to offer, no special talents, no family connections, and no great education, fame, or wealth.  All God needs is a humble heart that will yield to His Spirit consistently and who will humbly obey without questioning everything.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with questioning God if our heart’s in the right place, and we are merely seeking to understand.  But questioning God with an arrogant attitude is simply disrespect and comes out of the belief that we know better than God, which is utter foolishness.   

We should always approach God humbly, and we should respond to His requests humbly.  We are allowed to come boldly into the throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16).  This is a tremendous privilege, but it is one which we should always treat with respect.  God overlooks many of our errors, seeing us through the blood of our Savior, as the perfected beings that we will eventually become when He has completed His work in us and He places us into our glorified bodies.  But He also sees us through the eyes of a loving Father, sometimes indulging our weaknesses, just as we would do with our children, knowing that we don’t know any better.  May God bless you this day with His peace that passes all understanding, and may He bless you with an effective witness and power to serve those around you.  


 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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