Friday, January 10, 2014

In Which I Invite You to Present Your Worst Self to God ~ or ~ The Corner of Valiant and Triumph

Mike and I recently caught a movie on TV set in the future, when the one-world-currency was time. There were ticking timers on everyone's forearm. The poor had little time left and no way to gain more. The rich had time locked in vaults. Banks made loans of months and charged interest in days. Making a phone call at the phone booth cost a minute. One of the characters asked another how much her rich tycoon father was worth and she said, "It must be eons." Time was transferrable by clasping forearms and turning them upward or downward. The upper hand gained time, while the under hand lost it. People were mugged and the assailant stole only their time. If your time ran out, you died.

~ ~ ~

So. How are your new year's resolutions working out for you now, about 10 days in?

I keep thinking I will find my success in mustering enough will power, so I'm still failing.

It's time for a new angle.

~ ~ ~

Eve allowed her emotions to override her confidence in God's sacred word chose the forbidden. Cain would do the same when it was time to bring his offering before God. The Colossians would, too. Paul advises them against it in Col 2:8. It's recorded for all of time, so this prideful thinking that we know best is a timeless problem with fallen man. The "don't worry — I got this" mentality is dangerous.

In certain areas of my life, I am struggling with doing what I know to be right and having the will power to do it. I'm sure this is a shocking revelation, and you never have such battles in your life. But humor me if you will.

The flesh wants what is not healthy; God wants what is. Which will I choose? It's an age old conundrum.

So I go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to show me the way to self-control.

"Dependency upon God is the God-given shield against making diseased decisions." (Godspeed by deTreville Bowers, p.18).

~ ~ ~

Moments become a lifetime. Each second contributes to who I am andwhat I accomplish for God, and marks my life. So I want each moment to count.

A second, by itself, appears to have little, if any, value. But the lie in that is subtle. A moment is no small thing.



It's at its largest when it's at the crux of a decision regarding how I will spend it. The "I got this" mentality I often have going into each moment winds up being my snare.

Eve thought she could handle making a decision apart from God's advice. She chose to act in her own thinking and decision-making power rather than to trust in God's sacred word. Cain brought an offering to God that presented his very best self to God, and God rejected it, with a warning that that kind of pride would kill him.

I want my moments to count. They tell my story. They reveal my journey and my destination. Will the moments become my journey to my best self or my journey to Jesus? What am I, through my moments, offering to God?

David would not offer anything to God that didn't cost him something. God does not approve of every offering brought before Him (Gen. 4: 4f). He does approve and accept offerings brought with a right heart (1 Sam 16:7, 1 Cor. 9:7), so our offerings to God must be sacrificial.

Each day that I put my feet on the floor while time ticks, I choose what I will present to God that day.

The "will power" battle is won when we see our moments, afternoons, and lifetimes as acts of worship. When, like Paul, we know the right thing to do, but can't seem to muster the strength to do it, we must, in that moment, offer ourselves a living sacrifice for the umpteenth time.

The way to be strong is to fall in our weakness into faith.

Our offerings to God authenticate our measure of trust. Abel's faith was verified by his offering. So was Cain's. So will be mine and yours. God accepted Abel's and rejected Cain's with advice about how to succeed next time. What will he say of yours and mine?

Are we seeing God in our moments, afternoons, and lifetimes?

The pure in heart fall to their knees and present their worst self to God.  And he accepts their offering. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matt 5:8).

Every moment I live is an offering to him. It is either an offering of my choice to live by faith according to God's commands, or a blemished offering of my choice to live by my desires, emotions, rationalizations, and best efforts. God knows the difference, because he evaluates my offering based on my heart in the giving of it. My offering reveals my faith or lack thereof (pride).

What do your moments say about your? about God?

And time really is quite the commodity, even now. It can't be banked or traded or added or subtracted. It only ticks steadily toward one last moment when God will accept our lifetime or reject it. And he has advised us on how to succeed in that.

"But cursed is the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King," says the Lord of hosts, "and my name is feared among the nations (Mal 1:14).

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