Great and Unsearchable Things

Things the Lord gives me, and then I write them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Marriage and Entering the Kingdom

     God said that it is through many tribulations that we will enter the Kingdom of God. Entering the Kingdom suggests being "one" with the Kingdom's ways, or with that of her King. As in marriage we are called on to "become one." So what does one have to do with the other?
      Does becoming one in marriage mean that one of the partners (usually thought of as the wife traditionally) has to do the will of the other at all times, or does it mean that both are to submit under God's will first and then all will eventually fall into place?  Think about it. If one person is totally submissive to the other in a marriage, then does that mean they are one, or that they are in a God-honoring marriage? It could just mean that one is more passive than the other, or afraid and so they are "going along" to self-protect, and , if that's the case, what work on the inside has been done then? It just turns out to be a "coping" device.But, if both let God work His work of tendering us and disciplining us so that we will bend us to His way and will, then won't the result of that glorify God because it has been His work (by us yielding to it) and not ours? There really is a fine line there, but one that, if we use the spiritual eyes He's given  us, we can clearly see.
     Now the question becomes, What will this process in our marriage look like? CLOSE YOUR EYES CAUSE IT'S NOT A PRETTY SIGHT!!!! It is soul-wrenching, full of pain and hardship, and yes, tribulation. God uses the tension and differences in our marriage to 1) help us see our ugliness, and to 2) run to Him for repair and restoration. I'm sure there are many others uses, but these are enough.
    Some may ask, "well, when we see the 'perfect' marriage" doesn't that honor God? Isn't that the goal to go for? Well,for one thing, many of those "perfect" marriages are just for show, with only external actions going for them. Sometimes it just comes down to who are the best actors and actresses. The behind closed doors, and even deeper than that, behind closed hearts, is where the truth lies. And, only God really knows that.
     Many times our deep disappointments with our spouses (because we didn't get our needs met that we thought we would die if we didn't) are the very things God uses to drive Him into His arms as the only One who can truly meet our needs, and is the only One who truly understands us.
     But, what of the marriage in which both partners let God work in them individually, no matter the heartache, no matter the pain, til death do them part? All the struggling, all the heartache, all the frustration, all the "long row to hoe" in being long-suffering and patience (as He works on the other one, as well as oneself) will produce a marriage raised up in heaven, and will one day, if we faint not, bear fruit to everlasting righteousness for all to see. In this way, as Jesus layed down his will for the Father in the Garden, and shed blood doing it, we, as His Bride, will do the same to lay ours down, for His name sake. (Keep in mind, though, that it is only by the power of His Spirit that we can do that) Then the "sons of God" will be made manifest, on earth as it in in Heaven.

So, don't be surprised at the fiery trial you are going through even in your marriage, for two wills becoming one produces fire at first, but then forges beautifully together. To God be the Glory!!!

(P.S.- I honestly believe you have to chose for Him to work in you by telling Him so, or the only thing that will be developed in you is a stronger self-will. Oh, woe to us if that is so!)

Monday, January 03, 2011

     Would you forgive me because I am "the thinker"? In fact, can you believe, that when I was awake at 4:30 am this morning (although I stayed in bed) I thought of this post. My mind automatically goes there. Sometimes I wonder seriously if I need to get on that ADD medicine to help my brain focus, or something to help me not think so much. Did God make me this way, or is it a malfunction, I wonder? I have become aware that I am a deep thinker, and that in being that way I have possibly alienated others who are not. It seems like either I am threatening to them because they don't know what I am talking about, or that they would rather just stay on the surface in life and "not go there." It's really hard to tell. God only knows, I suppose.
     I have adapted, though, to this revelation of my being different in this way, by not sharing most of what I am thinking so as not to startle or interfere with my interpersonal relationships (Although, I will share if I sense that the other person will  understand and appreciate my thoughts) Rightly so, as I know people aren't hungry for my thoughts, and want to get a word in edgewise. That's how relationships are: two-sided.
      Saying all of that, I have come to appreciate the light side of communications also, as they don't bring a strain but a release to the depth of thought I usually dwell in.I have even tried to be light-hearted like those other good souls who everyone likes, but to no avail. So being me and appreciating who God had made me,  and appreciating those who add another dimension to life has been tough for me. I have told myself about myself that I have swam in the deep and seen the sharks (and many times have gotten bit by them even) but I have also seen the treasures which lie there, and it's been worth it. Settling with the fact that God has made me this way, with possibly some things to share about the deep with others, has helped me NOT get on medicine or resort to total self-abasement. (Although I do struggle with that, which I believe is one of the lures of the sharks which swim around me at times) This is the preface to my post, which has nothing to do with it, except to share some thoughts about myself in relationship to it. I hope that you can "see" what I see, and marvel at the works of God as I look at this treasure of who He is.

Preceeding Submission

          How does God do His work in us when conforming us to His image? I know that theologians and others have attempted to answer that question, and now I will present my insights. First of all, we know the "clay/potter" parallel with us being the clay and God the potter. Yes, He pounds and remolds and shapes, and on and on it goes. This is a visual of what He does in the spiritual realm, of which we only can relate to many times if given object lessons to help us know or understand or see. 
     I will give you what I believe God has shown me of only a small part of His inner work, as it has related to me lately. And, I believe, He does the same in each one of us, who are called by His name. First of all, I believe that we have to want Him to change us into the likeness of Christ for Him to do it. I firmly believe that He does not force anyone to do anything against their will. If He did, He certainly would have forced Adam and Eve to "not pick the fruit" that He forbade. I realize that this could develop into a discussion about "free will" , but that is not the subject at hand. Secondly, I believe that we need to believe that He will do that work in us, and to wait in expectation for the work to appear, or be manifest, so to speak. This is one of the hardest places to be in, as after waiting so long with no obvious visible results, it  becomes a temptation to either "give up" and get disgusted with ourselves (forgetting that we are His work) or rethink the issue and come up with a different theology to pacify our emotions. (dangerous ground) We might think during this process of waiting that we really don't have to go to the cross to die to our flesh, or that it's just too hard to let Him have His way so we become targets for an easier doctrine out there. If we believe that these tribulations we must go through to enter the Kingdom of God are not of God , then we cast them off and walk falsely with our God. Is that walking with Him at all, or are we then alone, but think we are walking with Him?
     Thirdly, we must deny our own richness (sufficiency within ourselves) and become "poor" depending on Him. Understand that in each one of these stages, God has to do a tremendous work in us and is constantly working in a place in us we don't even know about all the while. We may feel the results of His work in terms of pain, restlessness, anxiety, or uncomfortableness but we don't really know the work itself, only that it is going on.
      For example, can you imagine Him working us from a place of self-sufficeincy to being totally dependent on Him? Before we knew Him, depending on ourselves or others (codependency) is all we had, even thinking that we were supposed to. (Pack your own chute, make your own way, pull yourselves up by the bootstraps, etc.) The world out there even exalted us for it, thinking if we are a self-made man/woman than we are to be applauded. So, He has a long way to take us from point A to point B, especially if we fight him for supremacy. (which our flesh gladly does, and even tries and justifies itself, along with the lies of the enemy) And this brings us to the point of this blog: The wonderful, tremendous, and mysterious work that God does on the inside of us to get us to gladly submit under His will.
     Recently, I have seen small evidence of the submission He has worked in me, and I marvel of all of what I would call "hard work" He had to do in that deep place in me (which, by the way, brought me much pain and suffering as I resisted that work unknowingly) before that tiny bit of wanting to submit that was actually "seen" by me on the outside. Truly, to God alone be the glory, as I know that I within myself, or that is, in  my flesh dwells no good thing. (I have known that in theory because His Word says that is true) but I am knowing that in reality more and more as He keeps showing me who He is, and then who I am by comparison. "Woe is me, a man undone."
     So, what is the point of all these deep thoughts? How will knowing about the work of God on the inside of me do any good, or help anything? Well, it helps me to have hope when I realize that I am God's work, and if I want Him to change me for His glory, than He will do it and is doing it. And, it helps me not give up whenever I don't see evidence of this for long periods of time, or when I am going through tremendous struggle to remember that is not only part of the process, but it is the process. Can we endure so great a salvation? Yes, we can if we will. In other words, if we will to have Him work His will into us. It is hard, it is the narrow way, but it is so worth it.