In the month of May, I committed to sharing posts from others that have encouraged, inspired and challenged me. Today, however, I feel prompted to share an old post of my own, with the edits [in bold type] the LORD gifted me today.
The Son of God lived in continual communion with His Father on this earth. It was as simple and as excruciatingly painful as doing what His Father told Him to do – for the joy set before Him: all His lost sheep running home. It had Him openly giving priority to His heavenly Father above His earthly parents, as a twelve year old. It had Him breaking the law of Moses to fulfill the law of God in Spirit and truth. It made Him popular amongst sinners in the world, who were longing for love and redemption and hated amongst the hardened and self-righteous religious leaders, who separated themselves from the “unclean”.
I gave my heart to Jesus as a four-year old. I was called to give priority to my Heavenly Father’s will above my parents’ will as a preteen, but instead kept the law of Moses to break the law of God in Spirit and truth, as I dishonored my God and my parents by bowing before my parents as God. As I did so, I withdrew from fellowship with my God, ironically believing that being in union with Him required me to suppress the beauty of what was in fact His Voice and heart in me.
When Jesus opened my eyes more than twenty years later, it happened (co-incidentally or God-incidentally) as my Mum repented for that which God had called me to speak up about and intercede for as that preteen. I had received my parents’ rejection as God’s rejection and my sinful responses to that rejection as proof that I was irredeemable and inherently evil.
But now, God began to open my eyes to see and my heart to know that He had never ever rejected me. I had never left His all-encompassing hands:
No! He had chosen and called me in Christ Jesus to stand in the gap – not just for the ones He was calling me to speak up for, but also for those who hardened their hearts in response to the Word He was speaking through me. He called me to humble myself to walk in His footsteps – to weep and cry: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” and to pick up my Cross, to die to myself and live unto Him.
Since bringing me home, He has been repeatedly humbling my prideful heart to deep down know that He doesn’t call the holy, but in fact makes holy (perfects) the unholy (imperfect) that we might do His will. He has been repeatedly defending me, through every accusation flung my way internally and externally.
This is a perfecting work I now know He continued doing in me those 20 + years I turned my back on Him. All that time, He never turned His back on me, but continued preparing me without my even knowing it, for the path I am now walking in Him. A path that is daily requiring me to give back what He has given unto me (and still is daily!) in abundance: humility, justice and mercy.
Since I came home to him seven years ago, He has been showing me that it is precisely our continual conviction of and cleansing of sin that qualifies us as His hands and feet in the world. For, as we continually come to God in prayer in our weakness and need, His moment-by-moment cleansing leads us to intercede in Spirit and truth. He lifts our pain, pride and self-righteousness, to make Way for the Way of the LORD.
It is as we cry out to God in our inability to fulfill the law, that we in fact build upon our Rock and Redeemer. How? As Jesus takes over in us. It is He who then does the building through us, offering a spiritual sacrifice (His very own blood shed for us all) that is acceptable in the sight of God. It’s here that He proves to us, and to others through us, that it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us.
So, today I stand before my God and man just like the prophet Isaiah, knowing that in the flesh I am a woman of unclean lips and hands. But because I died to my flesh the moment I gave my heart to Jesus, I live unto the Spirit of God. And that Spirit that lives in me is SO much greater than he who is in the world. Christ is more than able to patiently prepare my hands to do His work. He is more than able to put my hands to work, when He has prepared me for it, that He might complete what He has begun in me and through me. And He is more than able to restore the years the locusts have stolen from me.
Yes, my God, our God, is strong enough to take what the enemy sent to steal from us, kill us and destroy us to bless us, and others through us, with new life. This is a new life that labors in us daily to shed our fleshly urges that He might reveal His love, compassion and mercy to our world, as all we do is cry out: “Father, I can’t but I know that You can. Now prove Yourself through me.”
Only just last night that new life in me led me to bring my exhaustion and frustration to my God. Even though I have seen Him do this over and over again, I again watched in absolute awe as He exchanged my weakness and inability for His strength and His sweet and gentle Spirit. It was He, who extended His listening ear, His affirmation and His fruit of joy to my eldest daughter, through me. If it was up to me, I would have sent her away (which I first did, until God convicted my heart), but Jesus wanted me to remember that when we are so weak, He is so very strong for us.
So, as I cried out to Him in prayer, He took over to build His daughters – the both of us – up in Him. He humbled me beneath His mighty hand to act justly and extend the same compassion to my daughter, as He extends to me daily.
Incidentally, my verse to pray through today is:
Then I heard the voice of Adonai saying, “Whom should I send? Who will go for us?” I answered, “I’m here, send me!”
Yesha ‘yahu (Isa) 6:8 CJB
And the day before it was:
A person who claims to be continuing in union with him ought to conduct his life the way he did. 1 Yochanan (1 Jo) 2:6 CJB
What struck me is that that Word “ought” in 1 John 2:6 in fact also means to “owe a debt”. I owe my life in debt to my LORD and Savior, and so to fulfill that debt He expects me to “conduct [my] life the way he did”. He expects me to say: “Here I am, send me.” – to continually make myself available to Him and His will for me.
He expects me to live in continual communion with and submission to my Heavenly Father on this earth. It is as simple and as excruciatingly painful for me as doing what my Heavenly Father tells me to do – for the joy set before me: all His children running home. And yet I cannot carry that call, that burden, without the freeing yoke of Christ’s humility at work in and through me. A freeing yoke that leads me to lay down my prideful and selfish and “let me fix that for you” will for His will that is gentle and meek and free-will sowing. The will of my Father that often requires me to remove myself out of the picture completely, once He has delivered His Word through me.
That divine will had me returning home to openly give priority to my heavenly Father’s will above my earthly parents. It has me now no longer just speaking of His mercy and compassion for adopted and traumatized children, but also of His mercy for adoptive parents, like my parents. Adoptive parents, whose hearts have been hardened through the long, painful and humbling journey of loving their new children home. Adoptive parents God is crying out to also, to come home into His heart of mercy and compassion for them and for all the children of this world.
It has me – that hardened and self-righteous religious one who seeks to separate herself from the “unclean” – being transformed daily to look more and more like my Savior, as I repeatedly come face to face with my own hardened heart, my own weakness and need, and Christ’s power and ability to – in His beautiful timing – break me open by His discipline. To wake me up, prepare me and build me into His spiritual house. It is His power and ability that is turning me into His holy priest, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Him.
It is His power at work in me that has me now building upon Him – my Rock – as I daily learn how to die to my flesh to live unto the Spirit of God, in His teaching and leading. That Spirit of power has me seeking my God in prayer more and more and more. For, I now know – thanks to His power and grace at work in me – that my God is that beautiful, still small Voice inside me that is ever calling out to me to do what I cannot do – apart from Him. That is ever calling me to know and be known by Him: a gift that is so much more precious than anything this world can offer me, as this song reminds me:
A song that has been rising up within me and returning to me daily, a song my Mama who is now with Jesus, sung so often.
It is His faithful hands that are ever building us all, and others through us, upon the Rock- upon the foundation of His holy Word to us – as all we do is cry out to Him to deliver us:
Founded on the Rock
No one can lay
Other than that
Which is laid
Which is Christ Jesus
Builds the house
Like living stones
To be a
Acceptable to God
Through Jesus Christ.
For everyone who
Hears Christ speak
And does what
Builds his house
On the rock.
And that house
Does not fall
It has been
On the rock.
Oh may we lay it all down.
May we give back what He has given us. May we see His Kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven, as His holy hands become visible in and through our crying out.