God hears no sweeter music than the cracked chimes of the courageous human spirit ringing in imperfect acknowledgment of his perfect love. ~Joshua Loth Liebman (1907-1948)
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead… Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Philippians 3
Oh beloved, it is true. Each of us is called to an impossible task. We really are called to help people to life. We are the conduits of His Grace. And, we are the failures and fools and raggamuffins of the earth. We are, to a person, broken beyond repair.
And then, He puts us into the most impossible situations. He calls us into things where we are going to lose much more than we ever imagined. We enter with the
utter best of intentions. And we even have some astounding success in reliance on His power (there is zero progress without it). But with the success is great loss.
Being thought of rightly.
Having a reputation.
And… Thankfully, our illusions.
But while the fruit can be abundant, it is not without bruises and cuts. Often too, fruit (the people we help and love and tend and free) ignore that they have been tended, or even tend to reframe their entire existence as though the place they are now, is where they have always been.
It hurts. A lot.
And still it gets worse.
In all the good that we are doing (in His strength alone) the good we are doing is imperfect. Because the perfect and manifold wisdom of G_d has decreed that He would do His thing through the weakest of us. So, in the doing of good, we stumble and tumble and fail. In fact, so much of what we are doing to free others is so imperfect that only G_d could receive the credit – because it is miraculous that we do any good.
Oh the pain of a soldier of the cross is real beloved. Count the cost for sure. But the joy is real too. For in the midst of our stupidity, and those closest to the scene pointing fingers and lashing out at us for the very real imperfections our lives that we still carry in our imperfect frame – He is with us.
And this makes all the difference.
We look to Him all battered and bloody and stupid, expecting that we might be getting a little bit of a lecture from Him too. We say it, “Oh Jesus, i tried to do what you asked me to do. i just tried to Love them and all i did was get it wrong.”
But, the answer is not what we expect, in that we have been hearing the voice of our own condemning conscience, the accuser of the brethren and the rest of nearly all of mankind pointing to how we get it wrong… He says, “Well done brother. I AM here with you. You are right on track, and so are those I AM helping through your efforts.”
“Oh Jesus. i am so tired.” He says, “Come here, let Me hold you. Give me everything. I AM able to hear it all.” And we collapse in His arms and just weep. He continues, “you are being crafted a little bit more like Me each day beloved.
You have done nothing wrong by acting in belief towards Me and what you believed you were called to do. Your actions are totally righteous in that they are bringing about My will. Nothing can stop this. Especially not your sin and failure. I AM able. You never were.” He continues though, “There are many more dying who need rescued. And the trials you face will only become more difficult. Are you willing little brother?”
“Good. Time to rest for now. Just put your head here on My chest. Oh, and by the way. We will straighten out all the misunderstandings One Day. This will most surely happen. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. For great is your reward in Heaven. Again though, rest. All is well dear one. We’ll get to the next thing right on time.”
Can we see it? The Gospel, and how we live our lives, makes absolutely no sense without it being about literally knowing Jesus. All of our “right action” is nothing but foolishness, and it is so tainted with our flesh that it cannot do any good without the Very Person of Christ accomplishing it in us and through us by His Spirit.
So, are you trying to help people and seeing your failures in doing so? This fool of a writer is now (and often does). Fear not. It is not really about getting things right. But it really is about knowing The Right Person.
Do you know Him? Tonight is your night dear reader. Let Him make Himself known to you through what you lose.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of God, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, God’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan
Daily Quote: “The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not a matter of theological debate or philosophical speculation. He is not a hobby, a part-time project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort fails. He is our life, the most real fact about us. He is the power and wisdom of God dwelling within us.” ~Brennan Manning
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. ~Hebrews 13:18 (NKJV)