“The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.” (Ps 23:1)
“Lack nothing“ here means to not be empty, needy or depleted. God does not intend for me to feel like I just can’t do it. He does not mean for me to feel that I don’t have the strength, the motivation, the heart. So if I do feel that way, it is not true.
“My Grace is sufficient for you“. (II Cor 12:9) Sufficient resources are available. They may not make me superwoman, but God’s grace will provide enough, what I need, to get me through. I can be satisfied and content.
“Give us today our daily bread.” (Matt 6:1)1 I am a beggar asking for bread, asking each day for enough strength and wisdom to make it through, to be able to glorify God. And he will give me that bread when I need it. He may not give me an amazing store of bread that will last for weeks, but he will give me what I need to get through the moment, and through the day.
The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11
Jesus intends for me to have an abundant life. As I said in the previous post, I am walking in sunshine. I was just having a quiet time with a friend and we were reading in John 1 how from Jesus we have all received one blessing after another. Not only will God give me what I need, so that I lack nothing, but he bestows his grace on me all day long. I just need to see it!
“Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead.” (Ex 22:18)
It isn’t strange or atypical that I feel challenged, like I don’t have the resources to get through the day. God puts us through challenges to refine us. Either we will dig deep and find it within ourselves to genuinely love God and make good choices, or we will give into our baser nature, as the Israelites did.
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Is 48)
“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” (Ps 66)
“though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1:6-7)
This is what God wants — for me to be authentic. How deep does my faith go? How deep does my selfishness go? Which wins when the trials get intense? How much am I truly motivated by love for God, and how much is motivated by my desire to be good and feel good about myself?
I am poor in spirit. This I know. I do hunger and thirst for righteousness.
And I am watching the people around me. I see how they go through trials and impure motivations are revealed. It is true for all of us.
“Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them.” (Ez 22:16)
It is vital that we seek holiness. Our trials help us to develop this. “God disciplines us for our good that we can share in his holiness.” (Heb 12:10)
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. II Cor 7:1
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;” I Peter 1:15
And finally, I have this last thought —
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Eze 22:30
Bobby Lee Bobbitt preached on Gideon Sunday, and he ended his message by saying, “There are people who are waiting to be rescued, people who are wanting someone who knows the Bible to study with them, people who are wanting to be loved.”
As much as I can, I need to be that person who stands in the gap for others, as Jesus did. I want so much to find the people who are wanting to be rescued, loved, who want to connect with the truth.
The theme for the summer interns is to have “genuine concern” for others. It’s a great goal, that we will all sincerely, authentically care about those around us. It’s something that can be hard for me to find in myself to do. But it’s so much what I want to be.
Feeling at a loss and desperate, feeling that I don’t have the resources in myself to do what I need to do — this will compel me to reach out to God like a beggar and get the strength from Him. I will have to wrestle to hold onto and strengthen the good motivations inside of myself, and not give into the temptation to give up or just get by.
And then, Lord willing, I will be more authentic. This is my goal, that I serve God and live out my days from a true place in my heart.
One blessing after another — His refreshing rain.