Category Archives: Peace

My Towel of Babel

Faith

Ephesians 3.

1. . .for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation. . . 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

We are Gentiles and we are sinners, all of us. We have all failed. I have always known this growing up. Hearing countless sermons on how we all fall short of the glory of God and we need the grace He gave to us through Jesus’ death to be saved. In my heart of hearts I have always known this. But I do not think I really fully grasped the idea. I have always been striving to be more, to be closer to perfect. I have been trying to stack my good deeds up and throw down my sin in order to build my own tower of Babel to get at least a little closer to God so he would not have to reach down so far.

I felt like I needed to build my tower to hear God’s voice. Paul talked here about knowing God through his revelation and I kept hearing about and reading about these people, who I saw as holier and closer to perfect than I was, talking about hearing God’s voice and bending to his will. I have prayed, I have read, I have listened. I have heard silence. My tower needed to be taller, God’s voice didn’t seem to be able to carry way down in my pit of Gentile-ness.

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

During my weekend at Sonshine God smacked me with a two by four, several times. One of those smacks was about my tower building. I had been waiting to make my bold step for God. I had been waiting to at least be a little less sinful and a lot more wise before I take a leap of faith into God’s plan. I figured I had to be at least closer to perfect before he could truly use me and for me to hear him. The little things, I could do that. Go on a mission trip and paint a house or give a hug to someone who is sad. I was at the level were God could use me that way. But for something big, nope, I was too sinful for that.

As I sat in the Youth Leader’s lounge at Sonshine and listened to the Q&A sessions with the bands, with Hawk Nelson, Building 429, Petra, and Love & Death, I realized that they were not perfect. I realized that our Pastor that I hang out with is not perfect. I realized that they are continually growing and will never reach close to perfection, but God is using them in a big way. These band members and the youth leaders were full of the Holy Spirit, full of the gifts of God, but they were also full of sin, terrible sin, but that did not stop them from being used for a greater purpose. God is not waiting for me to be almost perfect, He is just waiting for me to trust fully in him.

Even Paul knows that he is less than the least of these. He knows that he is not worthy of the task God has set before him. Fortunately, for him and for all of us who are unworthy of our tasks, we serve a God who is worthy and it is not really our works but his work through us. We have the tools to figure out God’s mystery and we have the tools to administer it.

10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to His eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 

His intent. The manifold wisdom of God. His eternal purpose. In Him and through faith in Him. Do you get where I am going here? I was so worried about me, me, me, me I forgot that it is through Jesus Christ that “we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” I may be a terrible sinner, but I may approach God with confidence. I am free to talk to him and listen for him.

There is more to our spiritual walk, more to our faith than trudging along through this world with our heads hanging in shame. There is more to this life than just praying for forgiveness and accepting that we are sinners who are only saved by grace.

We must start to believe that we are more than that. No, we will never be able to earn our own salvation, we need Jesus, his life, his death, and his resurrection for that. But we must realized that our hearts still try to be good, our souls try to be holy. We were made in His holy image after all. We are way more than just sinners. Our flesh will always hinder our hearts and this world will continue to bind our souls. It will be hard to glorify God. But we are his vessels. He has molded us out of the shapeless clay into a masterpiece of love. He molded us specifically to fulfill our purpose. I am made perfect in Him. You are made perfect in him. We can walk with our heads held high.

I get to trade in my tower building for freedom and confidence and I will take that trade any day.

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I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart.

Where?

I looked up from the couch as the lock clicked and I watched my husband come in, just home from work. One hand was still holding our apartment keys and in the other he had carefully balanced two bottles of Mt. Dew and a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. My favorites. Now those who really know me would read that paragraph and shudder, because they know me and what this picture means. So let me shift the picture for you.

Down in my heart.

I am sitting on the couch in my  sweat pants and a t-shirt with cut off sleeves. I have an Xbox controller in one hand and the other is eating semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I had been doing this for the past hour and a half and today was supposed to be my uber productive day. The room that I was hoping to clean today, wasn’t. The dishes that were supposed to be washed, still dirty. The blog posts that should have been written, blankness.

Where?

James sat down and I put my head in his lap so I could start crying. In doing this we found that I had dropped some of my chocolaty morsels and I now had two melted chocolate chips on my butt and one melted to my calf. I was a disgraceful picture.

Down in my heart.

Depression had worked its way into what otherwise would have been a perfect day. But that is what it is. When I tell some people that I suffer from depression they just think that when things go wrong I get really, really sad. No, that is sadness. When things go wrong I do get sad, that is normal. Depression is when every thing is going right, and all I want to do is lay down and cry.

I got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.

You can take all your top 10 lists that tell me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to have a better self-image, how to have a cleaner house. You can take all of your advice and all of your kind words. You can take all of that and keep it for another day. I will not be able to use it today. I can read the happiest quote while looking at a picture of the cutest puppy and my heart will not stir. If anything I will probably start crying because the world looks so bleak.

Where?

I do not cut anymore, but the idea behind lingers with me. Toward the end of the day I am lying in bed, upset again. I had tried to write a post but it seemed all wrong, totally forced. I failed again today. James comes in as he hears me tossing around on the bed. I am restless. He holds me as I rant. My feelings get all mixed up inside. I do not want to do anything. It is 10:00 pm and I have not even had supper yet, I should be starving. But I do not want to do anything. I do not want to get up and have supper. Yet lying in this bed is actually still doing something, and I do not want to stay here either. But getting up is definitely doing something. I tell James all of this in a mumble of sentences. I tell him, “All I know is that I have a headache and all I want to do is hit my head against the wall repeatedly.” He stares at me strangely, “How is that supposed to help your headache.” And I watch his eyes sadden as I say, “Because at least then I will hurt on the outside, and that is much better than hurting on the inside.”

Down in my heart to stay.

We pray then. I do not want to, which is a good sign that we should. We pray for healing and for joy and for peace. We pray for Depression, Doubt, and Worry to leave me. We pray, and I feel slightly better. James says there is a look of hope in my eyes. I get up, eat some supper, start filling out important dates in my new daily planner, and I look up a couple of the 5k races my friend and I have been talking about. Depression still lingers over me, but I can manage for now at least.

Now for my favorite verse.

I have the Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Blessed-Redeemer-Way-Down-In-The-Depths-Of-My-Heart. (quick breath) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. (breathe!) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. . .

To stay.

"I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.

“I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.