I had someone ask me the other day if I was doing okay. It seems I often post very transparent statuses and tweets and blog posts. They thought I was struggling with things or I was having hard times. The answer is, not really. I have had more difficult times in regard to the things coming at me from the inside. The truth of it is, I am very introspective. I know me. I know my bent toward sinning (by that I mean my tendency to ignore God, go my own way, and sometimes be really off track). I guess I focus on those things sometimes because I want to see those things change. I know I am missing out on the greater life when I don’t let the Spirit of God work in me.
So, with that confession out of the way, here’s a Scripture text I read in my morning quiet time a few days back. It captures a bit of what my reality is within my spirit:
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
and their hearts became proud;
therefore, they forgot me.
The truth of my life is that God has been good to me. Shoot, I see it every Sunday when the words God allows me to speak touches a heart or helps someone know God more – that’s an amazing miracle considering how the words were put together and how they sounded the night before!
It’s the song lyrics – “Count your many blessings, count them one by one…” When I begin to do that I get weary of counting long before I am done. I am a blessed man, a recipient of God’s amazing grace. God has fed me both physically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout my days, and I know that. And yet, I fall prey to the words of Hosea.
You see, my issue is not that I am struggling. My life is not in a free fall at the moment. My life is good. And yet, I know the reality of my soul. I know that I have become proud in my spirit and I have forgotten God.
But, you may ask, what does that look like? (My Disciple Bible study folks will appreciate that question!) Well, it looks like a man who worries where he will find the strength to accomplish the tasks before him. It looks like a man who is anxious because HE can’t do what he thinks he should be able to do. It looks like a man who works hard to make things happen, but never asks God to help, much less asking God if he should even be doing what he’s doing.
The reason that happens? Well, I either think I CAN do it because I have done it before. Or, I think I SHOULD BE ABLE to do it because others do. I get deluded into believing I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to doing. I deceive myself into believing others who do great things set the standard for me. The truth is, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). The reality is, I should run the race set before me, not the one I see others running. I am reminded of the story when Jesus reinstated Peter after the Resurrection (John 21:15-25). Jesus is talking to Peter about his call and Peter says, “What about him?” (referring to John). Jesus basically says, “Don’t worry about him, you follow me as I lead you.
You see, I so quickly forget how amazing it is to do what God calls me to do. So often I get caught up in what I think God wants me to do or what will make me look good in the eyes of others. I want to be “successful” in ministry (whatever that means) and so I work hard at it. Problem is, I work hard at it and forget how it feels to see God at work in me and through me.
I forget how God has fed me. I forget how God empowered me. I forget how God has blessed me. And I begin to think I can, or I must, do it on my own. Either way, the issue is one of pride. The issue is that I so often quickly forget. And in the end, I am the worse off for it.
So you see, the words of Hosea are not simply an admonition about how bad we are for forgetting God, it is a reminder that forgetfulness leads us to experiencing life at a much lower level. And that’s why I post the way I do. That’s why I sometimes tweet on Twitter the way I do. It is a reminder to me. It is a public notice to myself to remember whose I am and the life I can have.
I hope that in some way those reminders are helpful to you as well.
Holy high-five to you,