“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”  James 4:7-10

Last night the church that meets in our home started thinking together about the first man and woman and the way things might have been. In the garden, where every good fruit and vegetable grew ripe and full and sweet without weeds to worry about, the first man and woman truly walked in beauty. Then it occurred to us that one day, in the kingdom of heaven, we will walk once again without weeds…without worms in our apples, without crabgrass and bindweed choking the life out of the garden. Beautiful!

The thin membrane that separates time and space, height and depth and density from that otherness, the dimension where God exists fully, is near. As we lay aside our cares and allow the Spirit of God to lead us, it is to this Kingdom He carries us. We draw near to what is as near as the air we breathe. We are immersed in what we are sustained with as the fish is immersed in the sea. We become real to ourselves and to God in a way which transcends our flaws, our misunderstandings, our human capabilities. The weakness of absolute trust in One who is above all trustworthy embraces us and we are made whole. For a time we remember who we really are.

What a paradox! The weakness of faith in the strong arms of God leads us to the place of our God-given power as His created priests and princes on earth. How sweetly He guided our conversation! How deep and rich and satisfying the communion of His holy people!

But the hours before were just as precious. In those hours as we prepared the house, the food, the spiritual atmosphere of our home for the people of Jesus, the Lord drew me aside and weeded my heart. “Come with Me and walk for awhile. I have something to talk with you about,” He pressed upon me. How patient the Lord is!

Shoes laced, dog on leash and heart open I set out. The beauty of our neighborhood this time of year is breathtaking. Gardens are full of flowering mock orange and blue bell flower, roses draped luxuriously over every arbor and the sweet smell of cut grass infusing all.

“Lord, your creation is so beautiful; every flower unique in its display, every tree limb glowing in Your sunlight. You know so well how to make all things!” Slowly the message dawned on me. He who made all things knows how to form a family of people who love Him. “Child, give Me your desire for success.”

“But Lord, all that You make is perfect. I want to be successful … ” I wanted to say, “…for You” but in that moment, under His gaze I could see that my motive was not for Him, but for me. I was still trying on my own to build His kingdom, for me. And that is selfish, foolish pride. What a weed! As soft as the ground around this dandelion was, still, the roots grew deep. Thankfully, my daughter walked beside me and I confessed my sin to her aloud. She stood with me as I let go of my desire to be successful for myself and gave it up to God, again, probably not for the last time. (James 5:16, 17)

In another paradox of the Kingdom of heaven, it is the weakness of willingness to fail and be nothing that releases God’s marvelous creative ability. So I thank God for weeding my heart as we tend God’s garden for Him. The sweet flower and fruit of this kind of death to self is true success.

  • What is it that makes your heart soft and open to God’s probing questions?
  • Is there some “weed” in your life He desires to remove?
  • Why is it important to have another believer hear your confession and pray with you?
  • James 4:7-10 teaches about the love of the world. What is this? Why is it dangerous?
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