God’s Thoughts to Me
Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep. They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough (Isaiah 56:10-11a, NIV).
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that is through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:8, NIV).
Striving in The Flesh
The first lie ever whispered to the human race sounded deliciously good and appetizing: man had the ability to live independently from his Creator … the ability to live according to his skewed perception of good and evil.
This belief, ushered all the children of Adam into a world lost in chaos and darkness, and caused the birth of the nearly 40 000 Christian denominations worldwide, too many trying to earn their way back into Pappa’s favor and Presence.
I was no exception … until … the Truth started to pursue me relentlessly. I was lost and alone, stripped of my abilities to rely on myself to earn anyone’s love, let alone our Pappa God’s.
I had to experience my total inability to love myself, our Pappa God and others before I was able to let go of all my feeble efforts to prove that I had it all together. But, I did not … not even remotely!
For a long time I suffered from the Paul syndrome described in the Epistile to the Philippians: all the religious works of the flesh.
Paul listed his repertoire of accomplishments and looking through the eyes of the world, it was truly impressive.
He was circumcised when he was eight days old and was a pure-blooded citizen of Israel, a member of the tribe of Benjamin – a real Hebrew.
He was a Pharisee of the highest order who DEMANDED the strictest obedience to the Jewish law, which, by the way, he succeeded to obey without fault, according to himself!
He was the church’s greatest enemy and harshy persecuted her until our Lord Jesus stopped him in his tracks.
And from then on, he left all those noble accomplisments behind, calling it dog excrement! He used a much more descriptive word, according to the original Hebrew and he knew he used to be one of those dogs described by Isaiah so many centuries ago.
He was the leader of the pack, barking and biting the poor, ignorant folk, urging human works in opposition to simple faith in our Lord Jesus.
But after his encounter with the living, resurrected Lord, he knew the folly and deceptiveness of religion.
He called the preachers of Jesus plus works, evil workers .. the Party of The Circumcision ,for they were renting the church, tearing her apart.
Just like Paul on the Damascus encounter, our Pappa stopped me in my religious tracks by allowing a debilitating illness into my life.
He planted beautiful seeds of longing in my heart to know our Lord Jesus. It caused an unexplainable yearning that devoured my soul in its intensity … a glorious yearning to know the One whom my heart now desires above all else.
But, just like Paul, I HAD to leave all my noble, impressive religious ways behind. I had to suffer not just physically, which I do every day, but more importantly, I had to suffer spiritually like Paul and our sweet Lord Jesus.
Our Lord was the only man who ever lived who was able to uphold the whole law in His own strength, but He did not.
He chose to trust our Pappa from the one moment to the next to do His works in and through Him, all to Pappa’s honor and glory.
Just like Jacob, I had to cross my Jordan River, where I wrestled with God through the darkest night of my soul to be blessed abundantly with the privilege of living my life in Him.
A life where I daily have to deny myself and my feeble efforts … a life where I carry my cross like our Lord, not trusting in my own strength, but trusting the only Man who ever lived a life of complete dependence on Pappa, our Lord Jesus, to live His life in and through me.
For I know that apart from Him, I can do nothing.
Just like Paul, I needed my own Damascus encounter where I was rescued from the world and its ways … rescued from the lie that I can earn my salvation with a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
And just like Paul, I know I have not arrived there yet, but the one thing I have learned, was to consider the futility of all my religious ways.
Just like Paul, I am leaving it all behind, pressing forward against all odds, for I want to know my gentle, kind, humble Lord Jesus. I want to share in His death to experience the power of His resurrection.
I want to leave everything behind that hinders me to live in Him … to rejoice always in His Loving Embrace.
Much love xx
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