Random Blog Clay Feet: December 14, 2007
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Ecstatic Delight in Problems

I found the reading in My Utmost to be very appropriate for my circumstances today. It also reminds me of things I am learning in the heart from my study of Romans 10.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled. John 14:27.

Whenever a thing becomes difficult in personal experience, we are in danger of blaming God, but it is we who are in the wrong, not God, there is some perversity somewhere that we will not let go. Immediately we do, everything becomes as clear as daylight. As long as we try to serve two ends, ourselves and God, there is perplexity. The attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. When once we get there, there is nothing easier than living the saintly life; difficulty comes in when we want to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own ends.

Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does or find out the reason why it does not. If you are acting on an impulse, or from a sense of the heroic, the peace of Jesus will not witness; there is no simplicity or confidence in God, because the spirit of simplicity is born of the Holy Ghost, not of your decisions. Every decision brings a reaction of simplicity.

My questions come whenever I cease to obey. When I have obeyed God, the problems never come between me and God, they come as probes to keep the mind awake and amazed at the revelation of God. Any problem that comes between God and myself springs out of disobedience; any problem, and there are many, that is alongside me while I obey God, increases my ecstatic delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing.

Chambers, Oswald: My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI : Discovery House Publishers, 1993, c1935, S. December 14

I particularly like the last paragraph. I want to live with that kind of outlook and view problems as opportunities to keep my mind awake and amazed at the revelation of God. I want to have my heart in tune with the heart of God in a relationship of obedience, that is, obedience to His call for me to believe in His goodness and desires to bring life into the places of pain and death in my own heart. Beyond wanting to, I choose to do that today.

Problems are simply means by which the triggers in my heart are tested to see how much healing needs to yet take place. If I choose to obey God by cooperating with His plans and methods for my healing, then I can enjoy this “ecstatic delight, because I know that my Father knows, and I am going to watch and see how He unravels this thing.

I have learned from Romans 10 that obedience has much more to do with how my heart relates to God than it has to do with the outward symptoms that appear in my actions and performance. Instead of trying to manipulate and groom my outward appearances to look like an acceptable “Christian”, which Paul declares is going about trying to establish my own righteousness, obedience is a heart-focused relationship that is designed to synchronize my life and impulses with the character and impulses of God. That is radically different than the religion that I grew up in and that I still see taught all around me. But I am coming to realize more and more that it is the true religion of Christ who's mission statement was: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19 NRSV)

This is the same gospel – good news – that Paul was preaching and wrote about in the book of Romans. Here are some of the things that I am seeing in this passage (inserted throughout the quote).

But what does it say? "The word (Jesus is the Word Himself and is really the one who) is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith (a spontaneous response of trust and confidence when I see how trustworthy God really is) we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," (I notice that speaking truth out loud makes a powerful impact on the mind and heart much more than simply thinking about it) and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead (and so can likewise bring life into the recesses of death in my own heart and soul), you will be saved (healed, restored to wholeness). For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (aligned properly in correct relationship with God), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (confirming openly and thereby sealing the work that God does at the heart level). As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame (God never makes you feel worthless or demeaned. He is in the business of imparting a sense of empowering identity and inestimable worth to our soul)." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile (no discrimination on the part of God between any human beings whether believers or unbelievers, religious or anti-religious) – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him (the only criteria for enjoying the rich blessing of God is that we ask for Him with our heart which gives Him permission to release His extra-rich blessings and presence in our life), for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (restored to our original design of joy and intimacy with God and wholeness of being)." (Romans 10:8-13 NIV)