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Posts Tagged ‘#notbymight’

Summer can be a time of being instead of doing.

Books are read.

Stones are skipped.

Hikes are treked

Picnics are eaten.

Flowers and vegetables bloom and grow.

People are visited.

Trips are taken.

And on, and on go the list of recreation we take part in during this season.

A few days ago, I was stretched out on my back on our outdoor two-seater lounge, legs hanging over the side, book in hand, held up at just the right distance (which is becoming more and more difficult to navigate). Suddenly, something caught my attention and I peeked to the right of my book to see something absolutely glorious …

the cloudless, azure blue sky.

I stared in complete delight for minutes … just taking in the beauty of the day, the moment. I whispered formless prayers of thanks to God for this moment, because this level of beauty cannot go without acknowledgement, gratitude expressed.

Then, in that staring up at the sky moment, I got it. I understood more completely than ever in my life before what God wants from me …

to be rather to do.

2 Corinthians 3:5 tells us:

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves
to claim anything as coming from us,
but our sufficiency is from God.”

Some versions or translations substitute sufficient and sufficiency with competent/competency, or qualified, or adequate. I love how the Good New Translation says it,

There is nothing in us
that allows us to claim
that we are capable of doing this work.
The capacity we have comes from God

To do is often to act on our own strength, our own capabilities. Yet, to truly do the work of God is to let him fill you with his Spirit, his strength. We have no capacity to do for God, if we have not first emptied of ourselves, allowing him to not just provide, but to be the capacity required to

There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God, God alone.

That God, that Spirit within us made available through sacrifice. It is the sacrifice that is what it, life, is all about.

Jesus sacrifice is about who we are,
not what we do.

It is about our being, not our doing. For, there is no doing that will make us able to do his work … be good enough, deserving enough.

So, stop.

Stop doing.

Stop striving.

Stop the busyness

that you say is in the name of God.

and be …

Just let him lead you to Him,

and like Mary who sat at his feet,

listening,

just being with Him.

“(Mary) decided what was important, and she did not let the day-to-day get her away from that. As a result, she was drawn into a greatness we don’t even dream of.” – Tim Keller

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
Ephesians 2:8

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Who saves us?

Who redeems us?

That ‘ol Sunday School answer, of Jesus, is, of course the answer. Yet … in all practicality, we often do not live as if that were true. We strive, and move and posture in such ways as to show far more reliance on self than on the Savior.

We often put our faith in us … in our prayers, our giving, our acts of kindness or hours spent doing the work of the church … but our actions offer little if they are what we are counting on to save us. They are little more than rituals, outward adornments to show the world the state of our souls.

Of course that summation is rather dismal, rather over-simplified.

A friend recently introduced me to a poem by Christina Rossetti that I had not remembered reading before, called A Better Resurrection :

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish’d thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

In reading this, one might read the mood of Rossetti to be terrible sad, even depressed. It is a lonely, meaningless, hopeless reading … at first glance. But, there is very much life as well and Rossetti is looking in the right direction for that life, that meaning, that purpose.

O Jesus, quicken me

O Jesus, rise in me

O Jesus, drink of me

There is constant acknowledgement of the human condition, of our helpless state … yet each verse returns to petition for life, meaning and hope from the only one who can provide. The resurrected one, who can resurrect you and me.

It it toward the end of the second verse, where I think true hope is expressed for our lives :

My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

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