Friday, June 15, 2012

Really, it all comes down to this...

Some spiritual insights are simply too complex to put into mere  human words.  It's like trying to wrap your mouth around a whole watermelon or trying to hold a skyscraper in the palm of your hands.  Impossible.  And yet to leave it unspoken is not an option.  Something about putting it into words solidifies it.  I find myself this morning trying to do just that...

Well over a year ago, I asked God to knock me down completely and rebuild me.  At the time, I had no idea what that would entail, but I knew I needed to be different.  The me I was wasn't built by Him.  Sure, I had bits and pieces of Him...even significant chunks of Him, but I wasn't 100% like Him.  I wanted more.  I needed more.  So, I prayed that prayer.

And my world broke into a zillion fragments.

It has been an intense, INTENSE many months filled with trials, frustrations, tears, corrections, redirection, humiliation, desperation...the list goes on.  Some days I would literally find myself face-down on the floor, begging Him for more of Him...all the while, the knocking down of myself was in full swing, painful.  I have never felt so weak.

Then, we stepped forward to host Sandija this summer, and in the weeks since we signed up to do that, the intensity of the pruning and shaping in my life has only intensified.  I felt it growing to a head, much like a pencil that has a broken lead and is placed in the sharpener.  The past year or more of the knocking-down-and-rebuilding process has been like being placed under the blade in the sharpener.  But then as we get closer to this hosting period, I feel the blade bearing down deeper, harder.  It's coming to an absolute POINT.

And I asked, "Why?"  Not a whining "why" or even an irritated "why" but rather a truly curious "why?"  Why is the process speeding up and intensifying as we draw closer to orphan hosting?

The past few days held the answer.

God always, and I mean ALWAYS knows what He's doing.  He led us to watch some Francis Chan videos.  I cannot begin to describe the buckling, the breaking, the complete falling-down of all things old in my soul.  It was as if  the past many months had been a chiseling and hammering of old pieces.  And then God ushered me into the battle of Jericho...the mere walking around the walls, the mere listening to His Word through Francis Chan brought the walls completely down.  With an insane force, they fell.  And the soul pushed more deeply into the sharpener...this time with less friction as the blade went round and round, the soul submitted.

Francis Chan's words were simple: Read the Word and then just DO IT.  No fancy lighting, no smoke machines, no worship team cued up to add anything to it.  Just a simple, pure, passionate plea:  Read the Word of God, and be courageous to DO WHAT IT SAYS.

Remember the game Simon Says?  Francis Chan noted that we play, "Jesus Says" but with different rules.  Instead of following Him exactly and doing just as He says, we play an easier version: We memorize what He says, we get together with church members to study what He says, we even learn to say it in Greek...but there are very very few who actually DO IT.  He likened it to telling his child to clean their room, and 2 hours later, they come back and say, "I memorized what you said: 'Clean your room.'  I even learned it in Greek.  And my friends are coming over, and we are all going to study what it would be like if I cleaned my room."

That's us, isn't it?  Be honest with yourself here.  THAT. IS. US.  Do you fully understand that He will vomit the lukewarm out of His mouth?  Do you fully grasp the seriousness for all eternity of the choices we are making THIS MOMENT?  He said that many will say, "Lord, Lord" and give a list of Christian things they did...but He will ask them to depart from Him because He never knew them.

You've heard it a thousand times, right?  But do we actually GET IT?  Do we honestly follow Him in obedience to all He said?

A few days ago, I pulled out a notebook and began to write down everything Jesus said in the Gospel books.  I'm only on Matthew 7 so far, and I have pages of notes.  Today I read back through them again, highlighted them and noted just how few I am actually DOING.  This is a wake-up call...a call to repentance and to turing around and determining to DO WHAT HE SAYS TO DO.

So, what does this have to do with hosting an orphan from Latvia??  It is everything.  In Him alone do orphans find mercy.  Sandija will soon be coming into our home for a few short weeks, and when she meets us, she NEEDS to meet Jesus...not a cheap replica that looks a bit like Him on the outside.  She NEEDS Jesus.  And in order for me to be Him in the truest sense, I have to listen to Him and do what He says.  Period.

It's so easy to glide over that quickly and say amen in the churchy voice, but do you really truly GET THIS???  We are to do what He says.  Let's take a look at a few things here...let's test our obedience level:  He said that are we are NOT supposed to collect for ourselves treasures on earth (Matthew 6).  Do we OBEY Him in that?  Or do we come up with excuses as to why He really didn't mean that exactly?  Here's another one: If anyone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek to him also.  Do we DO that when we are hurt by someone who is in the wrong?  And here's the one I've heard the most excuses for:  He said that if we want to follow Him, we must sell all we have and give it to the poor and follow Him.  Whew!  (Are we squirming here?!  Did you hear the automatic excuses rise up in your mind?!).  The final words He said to us before he went to be with His Father was to go into all the world and make disciples.  How many disciples are you making today?  Are you serious about that mission, or is there an excuse that pops to your mind instead?

You is so very very easy to say, "I accepted Jesus into my heart."  But the proof is in the fruit in your life.  The plumb line is in your obedience.  It is easy to say, "I'm a follower of Jesus," but what in the world does that mean if it doesn't literally mean that you do indeed follow Him in everything?

We cannot say we obey Him if we don't.  We cannot say we follow Him when we don't.  It's that simple.  And our lives depend on this...our eternal lives depend on what we are doing today about what He has told us to do.

And orphans, if they are to be truly helped by Jesus, must find HIM when they see us.  They must see the real deal...not an impressive copy that can fool the church crowd but is truly not obedient to the core.  In HIM ALONE do orphans find mercy.  Will Sandija find Him in me?

That is why the final bricks have come down in my prayer for Him to knock me down and rebuild me. The walls lie in ruins, and now He is rebuilding.  He has already given me His Word, and as I obey purely, unwaveringly, He will build me be a rare follower.

And that is why the sharpening tool is so sharp and fierce right now, focusing in with more intensity.  It is because HE is the One that needs to meet Sandija at the airport.  HE is the One who needs to hug her and love her with abandon.  HE is the only One who holds His Will for her life.  He needs me to seek that Will, to follow Him (REALLY follow Him) and be His hands and feet in her life.  I cannot do that if I am not willing to obey Him in all He says for me to do...ALL of it.

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