The other Sunday, I felt particularly urged to remind worship team, as well as myself, how important it is to lay at the alter whatever is hindering our worship. This is something that needs to be done regularly, if not constantly. Being fallen creatures, living in a fallen world, we are redeemed, but we still fight the flesh. We still have the problems and cares of this world. We still experience the hurts. We know how we are supposed to be. We know how are supposed to respond. Yet all too often, we put on the surface level word or deed instead of surrendering the issue at the feet of the Lord.
We find ourselves looking like good Christians on paper, but having no real hope, joy, or freedom in the matter. This is a problem. Another problem with this is that you can only hold the surface up for so long. Eventually, the facade will fall off. Think about it as an old fixer upper. It’s sagging. It’s ugly. It clearly looks old. It’s sitting on a poor foundation. It’s obvious it needs a lot of work, and we want it to look like a nice house. However, we would be the worst contractors in the world if we simply slapped paint on the walls, changed flooring, and installed new fixtures. It would seem like a perfectly good house, even a pleasant one to live in, but over time, the cracks come through the paint, the floors would become uneven, plumbing wouldn’t work right. Inevitably, the house is unlivable. We have to first address the issues with the foundation because coming from a solid foundation, all the issues can be corrected for good. Then, we can have confidence that it is long lasting.
Any Christian that is serious about being a Christian desires to be good. This isn’t, by any means, a bad thing, of course. However, there is the issue of time and time again, doing it from the place of being good instead of from the place of being His. Finding our strength and righteousness, must come from our sonship with the Lord, not from our desire to get it right. It is right that a Christian desires to be good, but we must do so from its proper place. If we desire to be good for good’s sake, we will only left worn, bitter and defeated. There is also the issue of, if we continue to keep it at surface level, we tend to look for the approval of those around us. Since people tend to be fickle, we end up leaning toward what the world deems as what is right. Therefore, what looks like to be a good Christian may totally be different from week to week. Again, it leaves us worn and self-defeated.
Coming from a place of being His, we allow God to shine a light in the areas that need to be healed, repented of, and made whole. I call them the check engine lights. He sees and knows what is going on and He indicates those areas that need to be dealt with, because all good fathers discipline their sons. This should, by the way, be encouraging as that indicates we are indeed His children. All too often, however, we starting striving in our own strength to fix those areas-dealing with the issue ourselves- because we mistakenly think this is how we ought to do it. Then, we put on the happy face, pushing down what is troubling us, refraining as hard as we can from whatever that sinful action, hurt or problem is. We say the words we think God (as well as other Christians) want to hear. This is not wrong. There comes a point where we have to battle, but our first action in battle is always to surrender. We shouldn’t try to pick up our issue and dust it off, then hand it over to God. Not at all! We take whatever homely, undesirable thing God wants us to surrender over and lay it, as is, at God’s feet. This type of surrender is only possible through the knowledge and confidence that we belong to God…that we are His children…that He is the Shepherd, and that we are His sheep. It is from that place we appeal to Him first and with confidence that He will complete the good work that He started in us. This is how we find true long-lasting triumph over our sin and other issues. He, being the Good Father and the Good Shepherd, is to be in charge of guiding us in the areas He wants changed and the victory in. It is from this place of knowing WHO we belong to, that our True Citizenship and Sonship are visible to us and to others.
Therefore our good works are:
- Sustainable, for it is done by His strength.
- Attainable, for it is done by His power.
- Unwavering, for He is the Rock upon which we stand.
- Pure, because it comes out of love for Him and a desire to place Him alone.