Thursday, July 24, 2008

We Make it Our Aim

So, in my last post I shared how I was sitting in church last night and feeling low, but singing anyway. One of the songs we sang was “Crown Him With Many Crowns”, a favorite hymn, personally, and I cried again when we sang,

“Crown Him the Lord of love,
Behold His hands and side,
Those wounds yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.”

That’s another song I cannot sing without crying, when I start thinking that He wears those wounds in His glorified body. His covenant to save those who are trusting in Him is strong and sure and He will save His people to the uttermost. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

A surefire attack on a case of the blahs is to focus on our Savior and the amazing gift of His grace toward us, amen?

On Wednesday nights our pastor has been going through a series teaching topics on basic Christian discipleship. Last night he began the topic of developing an eternal perspective and he talked about how our life is but a vapor in light of eternity and about living in such a way that we serve our Savior with that view of eternity in mind. It was very convicting, especially since I’d just been sitting there wallowing in thoughts that were pretty firmly rooted in temporary, temporal things.

At one point we read 2 Corinthians 5:6-11, “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

The point the pastor was making is that, for the Christian, there is no condemnation. When we are in Christ, we belong to Him and will spend eternity with Him. That is settled and sure. But our works since salvation will be evaluated, whether they were good or whether they were worthless. I have been thinking: Do I do what I do each day with grumbling, or do I do it with gratitude? Do I walk in the Spirit each day, or am I walking in the flesh? Am I seeking His glory, even in the mundane and everyday things I do? I know that I do waste a lot of time.

I started thinking as we read that passage, “Can I truly, down in my heart of hearts say that it is my aim to be well pleasing to God?” I know that positionally I am righteous in Christ. He has taken care of my sin debt and applied Christ’s righteousness to me. I am His for eternity. Experientially, am I living righteously, daily? Do I love Him with all my heart? Is that my aim? Is that the direction I am consciously pointing my life, moment by moment, day by day? I want it to be! Do I live like this is my aim? I want to be training myself, renewing my mind, to think about this in the moments of the day and to repent when I need to.

I know that I will stand before God one day. I will spend eternity with Him because of the finished work of Christ and the salvation He has accomplished by His blood shed to redeem His people. This is my hope and my joy. I also know that our works since salvation will be evaluated, whether they be good or whether they be worthless. I want to be building on the foundation with gold, silver and precious stones, not with wood, hay and stubble. I don’t want to have only a pile of worthless ashes to offer as my service for Christ my King (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). By the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, I want to finish well. I want to find my joy is serving Him. May I be submitted to His word and be obedient to do all I do for the glory of God. Even cleaning the baseboards? Yes, even that.

One thing I have struggled with often in my Christian life is this tendency to compartmentalize my thinking into, this is a spiritual work, this is secular – with housecleaning being the latter. I have wondered often, is anything I do mattering for the Kingdom? Is anything I’m doing worth more than wood, hay, or stubble? I’m pretty sure a whole lot of the time I spend on the computer is probably going to be ashes one day. Probably not all of it, but I’m pretty sure those times when I use it to avoid things I need to be doing is big, fat wasted time. What BIG thing is there for me to do? I think what I’m finding is that I am to be obedient in the daily things I am called to do. I am to wait upon the Lord, and to obey Him each day. I am to change diapers, clean the house, love my husband and my children, to the glory of God. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I am to find my place of service in my local church and submit that service to my King, and serve out of love and gratitude to Him. You know, if I can’t be faithful in the little things, there is no big thing I could be faithful in. Faithfulness is a daily thing. Faithfulness is obeying in what I know I am to be doing today. Faithfulness is applying what I learn as I study God's word and pray to every part of life. Faithfulness is keeping my eyes open for opportunities to talk about Jesus and to worship Him in everything. That means in everything. Even in cleaning the baseboards, if that is what I know must be done today.

And as I submit to Him in all things, may my one desire be to glorify God.

Psalm 27:4
“One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.”

P.S. My friend Heather has a couple of beautiful posts about being content to live "a life of godly obedience and contentment." Check them out here and here.


Anonymous said...

OH, thank you for writing this out! It's long, but worth reading to the end. I needed this reminder today.

Heather said...

Isn't it cool to know that we can clean toilets for the Lord?

I don't often feel that I've heard an audible voice of God, but I remember once years (two kids) ago when I was whininig to myself about ironing Dave's shirts (I HATE ironing).

The whisper came, "But would you iron shirts for ME if I asked you?".

Oh ouch.

Oh glory.

Col 3:23-24.

Thanks for the hat tip. Have an awesome day.