"I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only." - Psalm 71:16
The only way I will truly be effective in my service to the Lord is if I go in His strength. But humility is also vital to my walk with Him in that it is by His strength that I am walking. Am I faithful to defer praise to the Lord and His righteousness, and not push myself, my knowledge, and my achievements forward?
"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
"This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
"The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God." - Psalm 69:30-32
A common theme the Lord has been showing me lately is the vitality of praise. Even this passage indicates that praise is better than sacrifice! How faithful am I to truly praise the Lord in my daily walk with Him?
"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" - 1 Peter 1:5-7
When I am going through numerous trials and testing of my faith, I can rejoice and praise the Lord for it because He has allowed it. He loves me so much and is interested in me as an individual! He loves me so much that He is not only concerned about my spiritual birth, but even my spiritual growth He counts as something so precious, it cannot compare to gold! Am I rejoicing in the pain of my growing faith? Do I also consider it a precious thing?
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." - Psalm 51:17
"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." - James 4:10
"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." - James 4:8
Humility before God is one of the most important aspects of my with with Him. He will never have complete freedom to work in my life until I admit my inability and natural sinfulness apart from Him. Am I faithful to humble myself before God and those around me to the point that i'm willing that HE should get all the glory? Will I take the steps needed to be able to "draw nigh" to my Lord so He will "draw nigh" to me?
Recently in my drawing class, our assignment was to create a positive/negative drawing. The technique is simple, but the results can be profound. I basically took a marker and carefully colored in everything that was not there. In the end it revealed a beautiful composition of a couple pieces of God's glorious creation.
As I was looking at the finished assignment and talking with a friend, God began to show me how this is such a great demonstration of how His Holy Spirit works in my life to take my sinful self and turn it into a beautiful reflection of Jesus Christ and His righteousness.
In order to help understand the concept, let me give a couple definitions...
Positive Shape - the identifiable figure (What makes us identify what the shape is). It implies goodness, rationality, and importance and refers to shapes that can be named or described with words. (Curtis, Brian. Drawing from Observation)
Negative Shape - Describes the background. It carries with it the suggestion of insignificance. In everyday use it refers to ambiguous and undifferentiated space whose most noteworthy characteristic is that it serves as the place in which positive shapes can be found. (Curtis, Brian. Drawing from Observation)
When I first came to Christ, I was like a sheet of paper, one with a very light sketch on it. The sketch showed a slight resemblance to what the finished product will be like, but there was SO much work to be done!
When I accepted Christ as my personal Savior, He took my sinful flesh and covered it with His righteousness. As a babe in Christ, there were so many areas that my old self still showed through, making it still a bit difficult for anyone else to see and recognize me as a child of God. Then came the Holy Spirit...
Bit by bit, the Holy Spirit began to work in my life, teaching me how to seek the Lord and focus on my walk with Him. Through the years I started to become more and more of what God wanted me to be. My insignificant sinful flesh began to be conquered, covered, and forgotten through the working of the Holy Spirit, and served only make the righteousness of Christ shine out more and more.
After a while it wasn't only I who was seeing the difference, but others around me also started recognizing that I was beginning to take on the shape of a child of God. Through the power of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit, the "negative space" in my life began to be a place that where "positive space" was found.
What once was a babe in Christ, barely recognized as a child of God was now becoming a beautiful, vibrant reflection of the righteousness of Christ. Granted, my life is still continually undergoing the transition, and it will not be complete until the Lord calls me home, but how amazing it is to realize that God not only covers those "negative spaces" in my life, but uses them to create something beautiful that is easily discerned by others for what it is - a child of God.
All glory and praise be to Him Who can change the vilest of sinners through His blood!
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and rightousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
"That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." - 1 Corinthians 1:30-31
"For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." - Jeremiah 2:13
When I first read this, I wondered how anyone would even want to leave a Fountain of Living Water to try to find another source! But as I meditated on this verse, the Lord showed me a startling truth. This happens with us, with me today! I will turn aside from the simple truths of God's Word to find a "better way" to do things, even good things! But apart from the Source of Living Water, there is nothing that I can do that will even "hold water". (Excuse the pun, but it fit!) How will I get my water today?
"1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. "5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. "10a Be still, and know that I am God:" - Psalm 46:1,5,10a
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." - Jeremiah 33:3
Such a small verse, but with so much in it!!
1. It's a command (CALL unto me)
2. It's a promise. (I WILL answer thee)
3. He adds to that promise, exceedingly and abundantly (AND shew thee great and mighty things)
4. He never wastes our time. (which thou knowest not)
There is so much more, but after meditating on this most of the night God brought me to one conclusion, His desire for me is to call on Him, rely on Him, and go to Him for everything. He is waiting, longing to answer and to share from His endless supply of wisdom and wonder. Will I call so that He can answer?