Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Isn't that just like him?

For the past four or five days, the Lord has led me to Jeremiah 17:5 - 10. I have studied it forwards, backwards and sideways, gleaning the transforming wisdom from its pages. If you're not familiar with the passage, God compares the life of a person trusting in the ways and strength of man versus the life of a person trusting in the character and worth of God.

The word "trust" in this passage is the Hebrew word "batach" (don't ask me to pronounce it because it sounds something like "buttock" when I do) which means "to trust, be confident, be sure." I asked myself a few questions:

What does it mean to "trust, be confident, be sure" in man?

Seeking approval and worth from others, an obsession with achieving some sort of fame, making worldly things our haven (e.g., having wealth, a nice house, living in a safe place, having "stuff"), living according to the laws of man (e.g., demanding and defending our "rights" at all cost, paying back evil for evil, holding a grudge, letting bitterness and resentment make their home in our hearts).

In contrast, what does it mean to "trust, be confident, be sure" in God?

Making Him our confidence in terms of our worth: to know His infinite worth and our position as His child, to be "a liberated servant" who knows "they have nothing to prove."

Holding earthly treasures with an open hand, trusting that the Lord will do what He will with them for our good and His glory. (I'll be getting back to this one...)

Resting in the fact that God is a just and ultimate judge... "A heart bent on being bitter is a heart that does not trust in God."...let's reverse this...A heart that trusts God is not bent on being bitter.

What are the fruits of trusting in man?

Nothing. As soon as the wind changes, we, like the dried-up shrub in the desert, are cast aside. We have no roots, no safe and secure place to rest in the face of devastation or suffering. We are carried on the winds of man's whim.

What are the fruits of trusting in God?

Everything. We are not tossed about. We are steady, safe and secure even in the deepest drought, the utter devastation, the pit of suffering. He does not change. He stays true to Who He is: faithful, righteous, loving, merciful and just.

So - all this has been stirring in my heart since Saturday. I felt like I had most of this down. I tend to struggle with the fear of man (in other words, being a people-pleaser) but the Lord has given me victory over this in the past year and a half. There hasn't been any bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness holing up in my heart. And I thought - I THOUGHT - I was holding our material blessings with an open hand. Until lunch.

Lunch was great. Lunch was good. Let us thank Him for...His humor!

The Lord has been laying a decision about our finances on my husband's heart for a while. This decision would change some things about our life as we know it. It has the potential to protect us from greed. But it also has the potential to slow down our plans of investing money into our house (i.e., expanding our kitchen, installing hardwood floors, overhauling our backyard, did I say installing hardwood floors??).

This is where the rubber meets the road. Do I really trust God? Do I trust Him with our finances? Will I be okay with old grayish-once-whitish carpet and 80's tile that shows every grain of sand? (This is such an American dilemma.)

I think so. I hope so. I want so. I want to live with an open hand. I want to trust Him with everything. If this makes me more like Him, I want it. If this gives me more of Him, I want it!

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
And to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
And to know 'thus says the Lord.'

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more!"


Anonymous said...

Rock on Sister! I think we all struggle with this and it is always great to be reminded over and over that this world is not our home and the "stuff" doesn't really matter at all. In the end, those new floors really won't make us happy......just satisfy us temporarily until we move on to the next "thing". I feel your pain with the floors! I'm in the same situation! Thanks for reminding me what is most important!


Amanda's got Baby Bangs said...

What a good word! We are dealing with some house stuff and I find my flesh really wanting to toss out what I know is true and good. It's hard not to play the "American Dream" game but I know it will bear fruit.

sim said...

ah, I wish I would've read this before seeing you today. what great words and foundational struggle. I guess we'll just have to get together again real soon :-)

kittyhox said...

Hi, I just popped over from Amanda @ Baby Bangs'.

Wow, what a great post.

I struggle with this. It isn't as bad as it used to be. I'm much less materialistically needy and do sooo much less recreational spending. But I still deal with the wantsies. I didn't really even notice to what extent until I read your post and started coveting those hardwood floors on your behalf! :)

I'm going to ponder these things in my heart. I have a feeling it's time for me to get serious about obeying God in this area of my life. I've been letting it go, a little bit at a time. Maybe it's time to make a more serious committment to freedom from stuff. I can already feel my flesh crying out "noooo, not my STUFF!" I really do love stuff. That's not good.

Sorry to write a book. Obviously, I really enjoyed your post and I think I'm going to be blessed by it. :) These kind of changes can be painful, but they're worth it!