And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So share an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend!
One more note: I had a great show on Tuesday with Jason Vallotton. We discussed his book, The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness. When we make the subtle shift from hoping in God as our Source to hoping in people (who make a lousy source), we give away our God-given power to live free and full lives. Even so, there is a way to navigate through the relational waters in a healthy way. We love people, we hope in God who empowers us to thrive even in a broken world. If you're interested in listening to that interview, just click here.
Now on to my topic...
Words to an old hymn have been replaying in my head lately: On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.
Psalm 62:7 says this: My salvation and my honor depend on God alone. He is my mighty Rock and Refuge.
He saves us, defends us, and protects our honor. He is the Rock on which we stand and the Refuge in which we find shelter. He is everything.
Picture standing on a solid, stable and level rock. On either side of the Rock you see bubbling pits of quicksand. On your right is the quicksand of pride, on your left is the quicksand of despair. If you shift your weight onto either of these, you'll sink. Sinking sand will swallow you alive.
In Philippians chapter three, Paul expressed that compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ, everything else was rubbish. If anyone had reason for pride, Paul did. Accomplished, educated, and accredited, the man had a resume. And if anyone had reason for despair, Paul did. God chose him as an ambassador of the faith and once his eyes were opened to the superior reality of faith in Christ, he was smacked with the depths of his sin. Paul was responsible for the torture, persecution, and death of innocent Christians. Can you imagine how the enemy used his own sin against him during those sleepless nights?
That's why this statement means so much coming from Paul:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).
On our own, we don't have a leg to stand on, but thanks be to God, we have a strong and stable Rock as our foundation!
Pay attention this week to those zingers that steal your joy. Almost always they'll connect to thoughts that weaken you, thoughts that spew from the quicksand, "You're such a dunce. Always saying what you shouldn't." Or, "You'll never overcome your past. You're destined to repeat it." Or, "You are really something because of what you've accomplished. You're not as good as____, but you're definitely better than___. It's okay to use your position to get what you want."
Pride and despair are bottomless pits that will suck the life right out of us.
Paul's goal was to be 'found in Christ' - always and ever drawing life from his association with the one true Vine. Paul accomplished what he did for the Kingdom because he refused to be bogged down by shame and condemnation, and he refused to be puffed up by his accomplishments. As far as he was concerned, it was all garbage compared to the moment-by-moment intimacy he enjoyed with Christ.
This is not to say that what we accomplish for Christ is rubbish; it's a true treasure to serve Him. But the minute we shift our weight off of who we are in Christ and onto what we do for Him, even our works of service become filthy rags because they cannot save us. The Bible says that even our best effort is only as significant as a dirty rag apart from Christ.
And a final word about shame and condemnation. My mentor told me recently that shame is an inward reproach.
In other words, to embrace shame is to hold ourselves in contempt. Shame is a blemish or stain that discredits us and holds us captive only by our agreement. It's time to disagree with shame and condemnation! There is NOW therefore NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:1).
Stay firmly planted on the Rock of your salvation! He saves, He delivers, He establishes, and He protects. All other ground is sinking sand...
~Until next week.