Wednesday, August 1, 2012

a matter of perspective

disclaimer: a lot of this is spouting straight from the heart and the head without much if you easily offend, check back another day.

ever have someone use or explain a verse, one that you feel you know like the back of your hand, or have at least heard over and over, and the Spirit reveals it to you in a whole new way?
I've had this happen to me often in my walk with Jesus and am so thankful each and every time... its like tasting a sweet morsel and fills you right up.
I often struggle with fear of life's possibilities... something bad could happen to my girls or to Peter, tragedy could strike at any moment in so many different ways, and would I be able to handle it? I am ashamed to admit how often thoughts similar to these run through me. Somehow in my self-absorbed nature, I get a warped feeling that I somehow have a little bit of control over the things that might happen to me.... crazy thoughts like "well just as soon as I ask for a dose of patience, feeling that I need it to grow and mature, God will answer it by giving me a new child, with disabilities and will truly teach me how to be patient.... so maybe if I hold back a little on the whole 'I'm all in Lord', then I'll escape some possible hurts and challenges." I know these thoughts are a little over the edge...but just being brutally honest.
and its not just that, not just the severe error that feeling somehow something I do or don't do or hold back on or let go of will control the circumstances I face... but it also leads straight down a path of "its all about me", even if not intentional, the self-indulgent thinking that the Lord revolves all things around what would best teach me a lesson is a powerful misstep.
Someone mentioned the verse "and at times we are as sheep, led to the slaughter for his name's sake" resounded powerfully in my heart and the light bulb went on. Though nothing changed in the way things work, something changed in my PERSPECTIVE of the way things work, and it made all the difference. To live IS Christ. Its all about Him. Everything happens to bring about the best possible display of Glory unto Him. So whatever happens to me, despite the severity in my eyes, He chose it to happen because at the end of it all, it is what MUST happen to bring Him the MOST glory. So although He truly "works all things for the good of those who love Him" and takes the time to discipline, train, love and mold me, the bottom line is...its all about His glory.
Somehow in my mind, grasping that simple switch in perspective, allows me to truly believe and trust that this is not a performance-based relationship...even though logically I knew it all along, I can grasp with my heart that nothing I feel, do, vocalize, etc. changes the outcome of what He has already determined for His glory. I can rest assured that I can't say or do something in a way that causes Him to bestow torturous circumstances to occur for the sake of a lesson learned. I can truly look at everything that happens, with honest joy that somehow, in His divine plan, this (whatever it happens to be) given circumstance is being used to bring about the highest glory upon Him who is deserving of it all. And what an honor to be a part of that work.

I read this brief portion of an article that summarized my thoughts well:
Generally, the shepherds of Israel were zealous in caring for their sheep. They protected them from danger; led them into green pastures, and beside still waters. They nursed them when bruised or sick. But the final purpose of all this care was that the shepherd would lead his sheep to the slaughter when it suited his purpose. And even so it is with us, for the destination of those whom our Shepherd leads in the paths of righteousness, is death.“Take up your cross and follow me,” said the Master. Taking up a cross symbolizes walking on the road to death. And this is just what it means to follow Jesus. He is our Good Shepherd, but previously he walked in the very same path in which he is now leading us. He was “brought as a lamb to the slaughter,” and we are now following in his steps. Not only do we remain in the narrow way by hearkening to his voice, but we need also to trace his steps, and walk in them.
We should not expect, then, that the paths of righteousness are always paths of pleasantness. True, we have the joy of the Lord while walking in this narrow way. But often the way is difficult. From start to finish, it is a way of sacrifice so complete that it ends in death. Jesus was afflicted and suffered, and he finally died upon the cross. We cannot expect that the narrow way will be easier for us than it was for our Master. But we can endure all things if we keep the thought before us that the way in which we are being led is “for his name’s sake.”
So once again the Spirit has satisfied my sweet-tooth with the delight of Him and has "taken my thoughts captive"...taken hold of something that was reeling in my head, easily headed straight for disastrous thinking,  and turned it into a source of exceptional joy, purpose and excitement............ again.

And my journey of an exchanged life, a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Spirit-dependant life, continues.

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