Yesterday, the Lord showed me something that made me feel very sad, like I’d let the Lord down. I think He’s been trying to show me this one for years. He didn’t show it to me to shame me, though. God doesn’t work that way. He loves me, but He needs to prune me to make me more fruitful (John 15:2). Pruning can be painful, but I thank God that when it’s done, the object of the pruning gets more air and more light. Here’s what I’m beginning to understand.
After attending a regional training meeting for pastors, I felt a strong “poke” from the Holy Spirit. This is a good thing! But sometimes it’s not fun to see what He has to show me (Hebrews 12:11). My brothers and sisters in Christ have been patient with me on this issue. I have puzzled over their comments that I acted as if I’d “arrived.” In Christian-ese, that means that I came off as one who thought all of God’s work was done in me (and by the way, everyone else better get there, and be quick about it!). I couldn’t figure it out. Why did I come off that way? I’m the first to admit I have a long way to go to look just like Jesus. More of Him and less of me — that’s my goal, and it’s what I preach.
Maybe the “arrived” thing is because I have been misjudging my brothers and sisters. Not condemnation, but wrongly discerning where they are in their walks with Jesus. Oh, there’s always more of Him to be had, praise God! But maybe I’ve been preaching to the converted. I’m really not sure that’s all it is. There may be more. Anyway, when I saw a glimpse of it yesterday, I wept for the day. Truly, I did. I so deeply want to live for the glory of God and Christ. I thought that I was glorifying God in speaking to everyone about what He can do in a human being’s heart. But there was that misjudging thing going on in the background. Maybe that’s what made it sound like I thought I’d “arrived.” Maybe it was my frequent comment that Jeff and I are compelled to move in the miraculous — that is, we believe the Lord wants us to do what He did while He was on the earth, and greater (John 14:12). All that He did was miraculous. It seems that sometimes when I speak, my words are counter-productive and offend people. I’m not sure of all the details yet. I’m trusting the Lord, and my leaders, to show me.
As I mourned yesterday, I remembered the Apostle Paul. He confessed that his character was not yet a perfect reflection of Christ’s. In Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB), he writes:
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Not until I stand before Jesus will I be a perfect reflection of His character. Like the Apostle Paul, I haven’t gotten there yet. But oh, Lord Jesus, I will forget what lies behind. I will forget about the missteps I’ve made (except to be able to view them through the lens of Jesus). I will press on, O Lord, for I love you with all that is in me. This one has been hard, Lord Jesus. But thank You for continuing to unfold it to me. I only wish I understood more clearly.
But I will not wallow — I will follow! I fix my eyes on You, Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), by Your grace and power! I press on toward the goal!