Where I see the most obvious parallel between Isaiah’s prophecies and the modern church is what we’re willing to call worship. Too often, church membership and attendance is flashed around like some kind of Jesus talisman. I attend. I sing a few songs—but only if they are the songs I prefer performed only by certain instruments. I hear a little lightweight preaching and call it good for the week. What is neglected is devotion—a devotion that can only come about in a heart that knows it has been rescued.
Within a few weeks of having our sweet Eden home, I realized what God had done. He had revealed Himself through the adoption of our daughter. Even though I was a believer for a lot of years before, I now saw salvation in a different light—that God deeply, deeply loves me and made all the arrangements so that I could be His child. I had doubted for so long that God could work all this pain together for good. I had felt for so long that God was punishing me by not allowing me to carry a baby to term. I had grown accustomed to thinking of God as angry, and cold, and distant. But here He was showing Himself.
Has Jesus taken hold of you? In Philippians chapter three, Paul describes a depth of self-abandonment of which few of us are acquainted. Before Christ confronted him on the road…
Jesus tells the disciples all about the Holy Spirit, assured them of His peace, and then says not to fear. It implies that what the Lord gives covers us so completely, that nothing should cause us too much concern. As if the immeasurable power of the Holy Spirit isn’t enough, God gives us the Holy Spirit in love–the love of a perfect heavenly Father providing for His children.
Any time you think that the outcome is sure–especially if you believe the outcome is certain based on your ability to perform the desired result to fruition–look out. That’s pride, and sooner or later it will take you down.
Am I doing the things that God designed me to do? Or am I unnecessarily adding labor that is apart from His will for my life? All that extra labor interferes with the abundant life that Jesus promised. We find ourselves asking God where He is when things get difficult.
Did you get the eye roll from the newly minted teenager? “Do not put that on Facebook!” I ignored her instructions. It got me in trouble. Maybe I’ll fall into line next year.
I am in the habit of trusting my abilities, rather than Christ. Huh. That’s a sneaky form of self worship, don’t you think? In my former life, I would continually submit myself to a process doomed to failure because, by putting my faith in my abilities, I factored the Lord out of a critical equation. Ergo, my fear of failure sets me up for failure.