2002-02-07 - Remove the Red S!
1 Peter 5:1-5 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (NAS)
My kids still think I'm Superman. I can fix anything, or just about anything they bring me that isn't totally destroyed. I can help them with any kind of homework - except spelling. I manage to do things that they think are impossible like make change for a five dollar bill in my head at the local store. One of these days, they will realize that these things are not so outrageous. But for now, they think the red and blue cape and tights are in the back of my closet.
Let me assure you, they are not there.
So many times in the Bible men are urged to be humble before God. I sit here basically exhausted after a day that had more meetings than sense, and more interruptions than continuous thoughts. I actually didn't sleep well last night, which is unusual for me. I am very very aware of my physical and all too human limitations right now. My mind wanders more than usual without constant herding. But I also note that my limitations are only accentuated by being tired. They are always there. I know the things I struggle with. I'm sure you have your struggles too. In all of this, Jesus knows about these mortal failings and even our willful neglect of His instructions given to help us - and He never gives up on us and never stops loving us.
There are certainly moments I look back to in my life with great satisfaction. I will be happy to lay them at the Master's feet. There are victories He has given to me, that I will be thrilled to give back. But I know that there is nothing in me that good that was not put there by God. If Paul the Apostle can cry out, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?", I can know that cry too.
There is a wide range between the excesses of pride and privation. Both can be self motivated. Pride can be taken to extremes thinking that we are the source of our own abilities and deserve all the credit. Humility and privation can be taken to extremes where we think, if I read an extra chapter a day God will be happier with me. If I give away everything I own to the poor, God will surely know that I am worthy of Heaven.
Do you see? It is the motivation. Is it either taking all the glory or giving to get? Then it is self-oriented motivation. If you or I are still motivated by self, then we have lost sight of the love that God poured into lives to save us from what we honestly deserve. If we live in the light of understanding His mercy and grace, self-motivation will more rarely be a problem. Our giving will be motivated out of love and gratitude for Him for all Jesus has done for us and is preparing for us.
Rom 7:18-25 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (NAS)
Grace & Peace,