Monday, February 02, 2004
In Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest 01/31, I found this to be challenging:
Paul did not say that he separated himself, but "when it pleased God, who separated me . . ." ( Galatians 1:15 ). Paul was not overly interested in his own character. And as long as our eyes are focused on our own personal holiness, we will never even get close to the full reality of redemption. Christian workers fail because they place their desire for their own holiness above their desire to know God. "Don’t ask me to be confronted with the strong reality of redemption on behalf of the filth of human life surrounding me today; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes." To talk that way is a sign that the reality of the gospel of God has not begun to touch me. There is no reckless abandon to God in that. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul was not conscious of himself. He was recklessly abandoned, totally surrendered, and separated by God for one purpose—to proclaim the gospel of God (see Romans 9:3 )."
Where do I feel that I fall short? It's usually in the area of my character - am I the man God wants me to be, all the time, no matter who's around? And the answer I usually come to is, "no, not particularly." But here, the charge is that I'm focusing on me rather than on God, worrying more about my standing with Him than about Him, His glory, His kingdom. If I'd seek first His kingdom... character becomes a non-issue in the face of grace.
Of course there's a place for self-examination, but at the same time, that's not my goal: to be a better me. I need a re-focusing somehow, to allow Him to be better in me, more liberating in me, more gracious thought me.