7. Wilderness Manual–Contention and Holiness (20)

His chisel is sharp, and painfully accurate. He will test and prod and prove the heart, and there is great confidence to be gained in the Lord by his thorough preparation. No confidence in self has any room. Our frailty as human beings is inescapably exposed in times of loss. Right between two losses Moses has his moment where his heart came up short.

Principle: The people of God are God’s mission, and they have continuously pushed against him. Here Moses gives into his own ungodly anger and disobeys God by yelling at God’s people and not glorifying God by obeying Him. The Holiness of God requires completely Him shining through. And in our anger, and our wretchedness we will smear God’s good name through our rash and self-effecting actions. The self responds to situations according to its own perspective. This was Moses’ folly when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. The self is ever present as our greatest enemy that must be defeated daily, and the time in the wilderness will make this abundantly clear in the loss, the tragedy, the difficulty, and the weakness of this stage. Self-effecting– anything done that is based in self, of self, for self– is the very useless thing about a person that God is determined to keep chiseling away until he can be used. If the self is allowed to remain in power, we run the very painful risk of coming out of the wilderness to a blessing we can see from a distance, but not partake.

Application: Keep fighting the battle of putting yourself to death daily, so that you do not step out of the blessing and power of the One who is using you and preparing you for more. This is done through actively choosing God’s will over your own. One way to do this, is by writing out your will for the day, and then laying it down before God in prayer saying, “not my will, but Your will be done.” If you blow it, repent and return to God, and see what He will do with you, and let Him be the one to determine the consequences for your action. Beware self-inflicting punishment on yourself for when you blow it. God is holy, He is the best judge for how to make a person useful for His purposes. And every wrong thing that is done will still be woven into His plan. When contention arises, keep the self in check, through prayer and humility. No matter what else may be happening right in front of our eyes, the work of God in holiness is what is at stake, and that is what really matters in every situation. Will you maintain your integrity to God’s holiness despite all the contentions that rise around you?

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The Problem: Self-Salvation

Thanks Tim Keller for helping me with that phrase.
– – Dear Reader,
– – You have read lots. Here’s something else. I’ve been sick with a grueling fever for the past week or so, and I’m tired of it. As soon as I sit up, I start throbbing in my head. People are depending on me for so many things. I have responsibilities. Children to lead in song, home-bound family who need to go into town, and this is not to mention my truck which needs fixing, my laundry needs to be done, and I have about 2 hours of upright energy a day before my fever goes up a single degree. Thankfully my family are around to care for me, and take care of pressing needs as they arise. Things came to a pretty weepy head today when I had to skip work at school. I cried out, “God please come get me!” from my curled up blanket on the couch, wracked with weariness and worried-ness.
– – Finally. He really does listen. He just listens better than we do to ourselves. I could tell you countless times I had asked him to heal me because people depend on me. But now the problem comes down to just me living with me. What kept crushing down on me was the weight of everything I had to do, and just could not do. I had to partially delegate it to my boss.
– – I know He listens every time, but He responds to honesty. Suddenly, in that moment, I found myself writing in my journal, “Thank you for saving me from my own self-salvation.”
– – I like to think I can fix things. I can do it. I can handle life. I can face challenges. I can manage my time, my relationships, my money. And so I can, or at least act like I can. But what happens when all that power is gone? You go to your power source and have the balls to ask him, “Get me more power, so I can take care of things myself, so I will not need you to save me, cause if you save me, that means I have to completely serve you alone.” That’s what I’ve been doing anyway. I wrote this down after that realization:
“Let’s face it. We’re all a bunch of sucky self-saviors.” I slept with peace after that, ’cause I know my Savior is real. He won’t save everything important to me. That’s not His job. His job is sustaining the cosmos, just like he showed Job. And in the End his Wise plan is best.